How-To Geek

Keyboard Ninja: Enter Vista Sleep Mode with 3 Keystrokes

Let’s face it – the Windows Vista shutdown dialog is one of the worst pieces of UI nonsense ever. Just look at it… what were they thinking with that popup dialog?


What you might not realize is that you don’t have to use the mouse to access the functions on that ridiculous menu. Let’s start by first hitting the Windows key to pop up the start menu.

Now use the right arrow key, and you’ll see that the Sleep button is highlighted. If you hit enter, your computer will immediately enter sleep mode. That’s only 3 keystrokes… not too bad.


If you use the right arrow key 3 times, the menu will pop up, and then you can either use the up/down arrow keys, or you can use the quick access key on the menu to choose the item you want. Notice how the current menu item is highlighted.


So here’s the list of shortcut combos for your enjoyment:image

Win + Right Arrow + Enter Sleep Mode
Win + Right Arrow (x3) + Enter Shut Down
Win + Right Arrow (x3) + U Shut Down
Win + Right Arrow (x3) + R Restart
Win + Right Arrow (x3) + W Switch User

Now keep in mind that there are much faster ways to perform these tasks if you really want to, but it’s important to learn keyboard shortcuts.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 07/25/07

Comments (11)

  1. Ryan Wagner

    Function+Escape on my laptop puts my computer in sleep mode, and all of my desktop keyboards have sleep buttons that make doing this fast. Nice tip though.

  2. sasha

    by using shortcut to rundll.exe with system dll you can do the same. But: you can place shortcut on desktop or taskbar; assign ANY key sequence you like to shortcut on desktop. You still need to be aware of mixing keyboard shortcuts.

  3. Porty

    I’ve just been trying to use those Winkey shortcuts and couldn’t figure out why they won’t work.

    It’s because I always config XP and Vista to use the Classic start menu.

    If anyone has other suggestions for Vista shutdown\restart\sleep shortcuts, that’ll work with this config, I’d love to hear about them :-)


  4. John Yugin

    My Microsoft 6000 keyboard does not have a Sleep button. I would like o configure one of the ‘Favorites’ keys to invoke Sleep. What command do I assign to a favorites key to achieve this?

  5. Jos Muris

    Vista. Fine. When I try to put it to sleep, no matter in which way, “it” sleeps for 1 whole second and it wakes up all by itselves…

    It happens on my desktop as well as my notebook.

    What do I do wrong?

  6. Planet Lowyat
  7. Student

    I’ve got a Logitech keyboard with advanced keys, such as “mail”, “web”, “media”, etc. I’d like to assing sleep action to one of them. How can I do that? Thanks!

  8. David Bangs

    These steps don’t work to shut down my laptop because it is attached to a docking station.

    Docking a laptop causes an “U_ndock” commmand to appear at the top of the menu. The menu now has TWO commands with the shortcut U.

    Instead of invoking shutdown, the U key merely toggles between the U_ndock and Shu_tdown menu items. Pressing u twice then Enter will invoke shutdown!

    How *could* they be so sloppy as to assign the same accelerator to two commands on the same menu?

  9. sasderwn

    Hello World

  10. emmanuel

    Thanks for the tips guys, very nifty. But how can i switch back on without shutting down. Everytime i try to ‘unsleep’ or ‘wake up’ whichever is more hi-tech, the computer shuts down.
    I have a vista system. Thanks.

  11. Anonymous

    Alt+F4 with no programs open gives win 2000 dialog box on vista

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