How to easily shut down Windows from your desktop using a shortcut [Guide]

Window’s Shut Down option is one that you can add shortcuts for. You can add a desktop shortcut for the Shut Down option. From that a keyboard shortcut can also be set up with which you can turn off Windows. This how you can add a new Shut Down button (shortcut) to the Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8 desktop.

Firstly, add a new shortcut to the desktop. Right-click the desktop, and select New > Shortcut. That should open the window below where you input a shortcut location.

Shut Down 2

In that window input: shutdown.exe -s -t 00. Then select Next, and add a title for the shortcut. Input Shut Down as the shortcut title.

That should add a Shut Down shortcut to the desktop. Select it to shut Windows down. If it doesn’t shut down Windows, right-click the shortcut and select Properties. Check that the shortcut’s Target box includes: C:\Windows\System32\shutdown.exe -s -t 00.

Shut Down 4

Add an icon to the Shut Down desktop shortcut. From the Shortcut tab select Change Icon to open a window with numerous icons. From there select a suitable icon, such as the one on the desktop below, and click OK.

Shut Down 1

A shortcut key can now be added to it. Right-click the Shut Down shortcut, and then select Properties. Input S in the Shortcut key box to set up a Ctrl + Alt + S key shortcut for the option. Click Apply and OK. 

Shut Down 3

Now you have both a Shut Down desktop and keyboard shortcut! Press Ctrl + Alt + S to shut down Windows.

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  • Simon Snausage

    You can do this, and many other actions via desktop shortcuts using Steve Gibsons Wizmo:

  • Mike S.

    [@CJ Cotter] Ditto as to notifications–they seem not to be happening right now. (And thanks for pointing that out–good to know it’s not just me.)

  • Falco

    Good reading, Great tip, This will come in handy. Thanks MATTHEWA !

  • CJ Cotter

    [@Ashraf] No, I’m not a “command line power user”, and I admire those who are.

    (How come when I “Check this box to be notified of follow-up comments via e-mail”, I no longer get them?)

  • Mike S.

    [@Deranged] Actually, while I know that I can do an Internet search on the topic (as I can for most things, really), I never remember the specific methodology here, and the precise commands to use are far from natural or memorable. A nice reminder–although I find using the Shut Down option under the Start Menu easy and efficient, without occupying Desktop real estate. (And if you don’t have a Start Menu, add one via great freeware Classic Shell.)

    One suggestion I might make for future iterations of this article: as has begun in the Comments, be encyclopedic and add options for all the “Shut Down” options: Sleep, Hibernate, etc.

  • Grantwhy

    I prefer to use a time of 15 instead of 00 because it gives me a short time to realise that there is something I’ve forgotten and CANCEL the shutdown :-)

    To make a “cancel shutdown” shortcut
    C:\WINDOWS\system32\shutdown.exe -a

    Now, some would be wondering, why such a long shutdown time (15 seconds) ….. I’m still using XP on a computer that was bought about 10 years ago – I could set it at 60 seconds and it would still be a quicker shutdown than using the Windows shutdown :-p

  • Ashraf

    [@Deranged] Maybe you know it, but doesn’t mean everyone does. I didn’t and based on the number of views this article has received, many others are alongside with me.

  • Deranged


    This is really easy stuff most people already know… The quality of dottech articles is going down

  • CompNetTeach

    [@CJ Cotter]

    Just change the shutdown command as appropriate –
    Reboot: shutdown -r -t: {waittime}
    Logoff: shutdown -r -t: 0
    (a time of 0 is almost instantaneous)

    Just create 2 more shortcuts, and use different icons (maybe green power icon & key icon).

    Any command line power user worth anything knows this trick from a long time ago…

  • dee_baby


  • CJ Cotter

    I’m currently using “Brutus 2006” ( to do this on Windows XP, which also has “Logoff” and “Restart” features. However, I’m uncertain that I’ll be able to use this old program when I switch to Windows 7.

    So…… about a follow-up article to create shortcuts for “Logoff” and “Restart”? Thank you much!