Change the Windows 7 or Vista Power Buttons to Shut Down/Sleep/Hibernate

The default action for the Power button on the start menu in Windows 7 is shutdown, and in Vista is Sleep, which isn’t necessarily useful for everybody, so we’ll explain how to change it here.

Change Windows 7 Shutdown Button

Windows 7 makes it really easy – just head into the Start Menu / Taskbar preferences by right-clicking on the start menu and choosing Properties.

All you need to do is change the drop-down for Power Button Action to whatever you would prefer.

Change Windows Vista Power Buttons
You can configure this setting easily by using the advanced power settings panel, which is a little tricky to get to normally, but we’ll take the shortcut.

Open a command prompt (type cmd into the start menu search bar), and then type in the following:

powercfg.cpl,1

You could also take the long route (Control Panel \ Power Options \ Change Plan Settings \ Change Advanced Power Settings)

Once you get to this dialog, browse down as shown to “Power buttons and lid”

From here, you can change the options:

  • Power button action – Changes the hardware power button action
  • Start menu power button – Changes the power button on the Start Menu

You can change the power button to either Sleep, Hibernate or Shut Down, or even nothing for the hardware power button.

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 02/19/07
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