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One complaint I hear repeatedly about the new Start screen is that it's too hard to shut down.
The Power button, with its Sleep, Shut Down, and Restart options, is available at bottom of the Settings pane. If you want a one-click option on the Start screen, you can create custom shortcuts that use the built-in Windows Shutdown command. Here's how:
1. Right-click an empty space on the desktop and then click New, Shortcut.
2. In the Create Shortcut dialog box shown here, enter one of the following two commands:
For a quick shutdown, use shutdown /s /t 5
For a quick restart, use shutdown /r /t 5
By default, the Shutdown command waits 30 seconds to execute your command. That's too long, so I end each shortcut with the /t switch followed by the number 5, which changes the timeout to 5 seconds.
3. Click Next to save the command and enter a name for the shortcut: Shut Down or Restart.
On the next screen, I show how to assign a custom icon to the shortcut.
The custom Shut Down and Restart icons use generic Windows icons. To assign a more descriptive icon to each one, right-click the shortcut and click Properties. Click Change Icon and ignore the error message that tells you the Shutdown command has no custom icons available.
From the list of Standard shell icons, choose this power icon. Click OK to assign the icon, click OK again to close the Properties dialog box, and then right-click to pin the custom shortcut to the Start screen.
You now have custom Shut Down and Restart icons on both the Windows desktop and the Start screen. Drag them to a convenient position and you no longer have to complain about the inconvenience of shutting down in Windows 8.
A few keyboard shortcuts are worth memorizing. Virtually all of them involve the Windows key, which is available on any standard Windows keyboard.
Tapping the Windows key by itself takes you to the Start screen. Tap again to return to the program you were using previously. If you're working on the desktop, you can tap Start to toggle between the Start screen and the desktop.
To open the Charms menu, use the Windows key + C shortcut. That also displays the current date and time. Click anywhere except on one of the five charms to make the menu disappear.