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How to shut down a computer with shortcuts

Sure, you can navigate through the menus of your PC to find the shut-off option every time you want to shut your computer down (and that might be a good idea depending on how you use your computer). But keyboard shortcuts are faster, easy to learn, and can even help you bypass certain problems if your mouse isn’t working.




5 minutes

What You Need

  • Working PC

Here's how to shut down your computer with shortcuts in both Windows 10 and Windows 11.

How to shut down a computer with keyboard shortcuts

Step 1: If possible, shut down all the apps that are currently open. This isn’t absolutely necessary, but it’s a good idea. You will at least need to navigate away from all apps and be on the Windows home screen for this to work.

Step 2: If necessary, make sure that the FN key on your keyboard is turned on. It usually has an indicator light that shows when it is on or off. The FN key needs to be enabled for this shortcut to work.

Step 3: Press Alt + F4. This should immediately open a shutdown menu on your PC. If you are interested in shutting down Windows 10 as quickly as possible with your keyboard, then just hit the Enter key and Windows will shut down and update if necessary.

Windows shutdown menu.

Step 4: If you want to put your computer to sleep, you can use the Tab key plus the Arrow keys to cycle over to the drop-down menu and go through their options, although this might be easier if you can use your mouse as well. The menu includes the ability to Sleep, automatically Restart, and Switch User. Make your selection and choose OK to initiate.

Remember, Sleep is a low-power state that saves what Windows was doing so that it can be quickly accessed again when you boot back up. It's a way to save a little time, especially with slower machines.

Windows 10 Sleep option.

Step 5: For an alternative option, you can also press Win (the Windows key) + X. This will open up a system menu. Use the Arrow keys to navigate down to the power options, then select which method you want to use to make Windows sleep or turn off. This is functionally the same option — the interface is just a bit different.

Windows 10 Win + X menu.

What if the keyboard isn’t responding?

If your PC is frozen to the point that you can’t use any keyboard commands, you’re going to have to force it to reboot. Press and hold the manual Power button on your PC until it shuts down entirely. While it’s not advisable to do this every time you want to turn off your computer, it works fine if something is wrong and other controls are frozen … although you’ll want to get to the bottom of the problem, too.

I thought Alt + F4 was used to shut down apps on Windows?

The Alt + F4 command is a broad shortcut that’s used for shutdown purposes. If you are currently in an app and try to use Alt + F4, it will immediately shut down the app if it is able. But when apps are closed or downsized and you are on the Windows home screen, it will instead bring up the PC shutdown menu for you to use. That’s one reason it’s important to close your apps before beginning.

Why are there no sleep options in Windows 10/11?

There should be, but if your sleep option has disappeared from the Start menu, it’s probably because of a bug. Sometimes certain updates or changes in Windows will disable the sleep option even though it shouldn’t be. Fortunately, you can turn it back on.

Step 1: Navigate to the Control panel. Search for it if you aren’t sure where it is.

Step 2: Go to the Hardware and sound *section, then select *Power options.

Step 3: Select Choose what the power button does.

Choose what the Power Button Does.

Step 4: Look at the bottom section of the window, where you’ll see Shutdown settings. Make sure the Sleep setting is checked. If you don’t check it, it won’t appear in the Power menu, which is why you may not be able to find it right now.

Toggling Sleep on in Windows menu.

If you haven’t upgraded to Windows 11 yet, we have a guide answering some the questions you may have about if it’s worth it to make the switch right now.

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