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How to create log-off restart and shutdown shortcuts on the Start screen in Windows 8

When it comes to doing computer repair, there are some things you do quite often. Restarting and shutting down computers has to be at the top of the list. So when I found that there was no easy way of doing this in Windows 8, I decided to see what I could do. Here is how I created my log-off, restart, and shut down shortcuts on the Start screen in Windows 8.

Log off, restart and shutdown shortcuts on the Start screen in Windows 8
Log off, restart, and shut down shortcuts on the Start screen in Windows 8

  1. On the Start menu, left-click on the Desktop tile.
  2. If you want to create a toolbar on the Taskbar containing these shortcuts, you will need to create a new folder. If not, you can just make them on the Desktop. Then right-click inside the new folder or an empty area of the Desktop and select New > Shortcut.
  3. Enter the code below for the different shortcuts.
  4. Right-click on the shortcut you just created and select Properties.
    Log-off, restart and shutdown shortcut properties in Windows 8
  5. Select the Shortcut tab, pull-down the Run drop-down menu, and select Minimized.
  6. Right below Run is the Change Icon button; left-click on it. A warning may appear telling you that the program contains no icons. Select OK.
    Log-off, restart and shutdown change shortcut icon properties in Windows 8
  7. Select an icon from the default library (shell32.dll). Or you can use another library by browsing for it. When finished selecting an icon, select OK twice.
  8. Right-click on each of the shortcuts you just edited and left-click Pin to Start.
    Log-off, restart and shutdown shortcut toolbar on Windows 8 Taskbar
  9. If you created a shortcut folder, go to the Desktop and right-click on the Taskbar and select Toolbars > New toolbar... and select the folder you created the shortcuts inside.

Windows 8 log off shortcut Syntax and parameter(s)

C:\Windows\System32\shutdown.exe -l -f

Windows 8 restart shortcut Syntax and parameter(s)

C:\Windows\System32\shutdown.exe -r -f -t 00

Windows 8 shutdown shortcut Syntax and parameter(s)

C:\Windows\System32\shutdown.exe -s -f -t 00

Shutdown.exe Syntax and Parameters in Windows 8

Syntax
shutdown [{-l|-s|-r|-a}] [-f] [-m [\\ComputerName]] [-t xx] [-c "message"] [-d[u][p]:xx:yy]
Parameters
-l Logs off the current user; this is also the default. -m ComputerName takes precedence.
-s Shuts down the local computer.
-r Reboots after shutdown.
-a Aborts shutdown. Ignores other parameters, except -l and ComputerName. You can only use -a during the time-out period.
-f Forces running applications to close.
-m [\\ComputerName] Specifies the computer that you want to shut down.
-t xx Sets the timer for system shutdown in xx seconds. The default is 20 seconds.
-c "message" Specifies a message to be displayed in the Message area of the System Shutdown window. You can use a maximum of 127 characters. You must enclose the message in quotation marks.
-d [ u ][ p ] : xx : yy Lists the reason code for the shutdown.

How to create a shortcut on the Desktop and Start menu in Windows 8

Desktop and Start menu shortcuts are links to different items. It can be to a program, file, folder, another computer, etc. Here is a quick way to create a Desktop and Start menu shortcut in Windows 8.

  1. On the Start menu, left-click on the Desktop tile.
  2. Right-click on any empty area of the Desktop and select New > Folder or Shortcut.
  3. Right-click on the folder or shortcut you just created and left click Pin to Start.

Using touch commands in Windows 8 with a keyboard and mouse

Note: the Windows 8 Release Preview program expired on 8/27/13 and is no longer available.

Recently Microsoft introduced the Windows 8 Release Preview. With the significant changes with the Start menu and the Metro apps, I wanted to get 'under-the-hood' of this new operating system. Now, for the record, I never recommend installing a beta operating system on a production system. But this time, I needed something more than a virtual machine. So being a fan of dual-boot systems, I decided that was the way to go. (see How to dual-boot with Windows 7 and Windows 8).

I have been using Windows 8 Preview Release for two weeks now and have almost gotten adjusted to the new Start menu. And with the release of Surface by Microsoft, we see what Windows 8 can do on touch-sensitive devices. But if you're a die-hard Windows user like me, you want to know, "How are the new Start menu and Metro apps going to affect the way I work with Windows?".

The Windows you have come to know and love, or hate, is still here. Accessing things have changed, that's for sure. But with the new Start menu and the Metro apps also comes new ways to navigate, Swipe, Slide, Pinch, and Stretch. Don't worry if you don't have a touch-enabled screen; Microsoft created keyboard and mouse equivalents.

I have to say I was overwhelmed by the new Start menu interface at first. But with some of the Windows 7 tricks, like 'Godmode', I was able to find some pretty cool features. It was my priority to get productive as fast as possible with Windows 8, the new Start menu, and the Swipe, Slide, Pinch, and Stretch features. Swipe is integrated into both the Desktop and the Start menu, with Slide, Pinch and Stretch only for the touch-screen focused Start menu and Metro apps. So here's a list of some of the new touch-based commands and the keyboard and mouse equivalent:

Swipe - Right side (Desktop, Start menu, and Metro apps)

Swiping from the right side of the screen reveals the charms with system commands.
Mouse equivalent: Place the mouse pointer in the lower or upper right corner of the screen and move your mouse up the right edge.
Keyboard equivalent: Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + C to open charms.

Swipe - Left side (Desktop, Start menu, and Metro apps)

Swiping in from the left reveals thumbnails of your open Metro apps so you can switch to them quickly. It does not display open programs on the Desktop.
Mouse equivalent: Place the mouse pointer in the upper-left and click to cycle through apps or lower-left corner of the screen to see the Start screen.
Keyboard equivalent: Using the Task Switcher (Alt + Tab) has the same functionally and also displays the open programs on the Desktop.

Swiping in and back out on the left brings up the most recently used apps, and you can select an app from that list.
Mouse equivalent: Place the mouse in the upper left and slide down the left side of the screen to see the most recently used apps.
Keyboard equivalent: Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + Tab to cycle through the Metro app history.

Swipe - Bottom (Start menu and Metro apps)

Metro App commands are revealed by swiping from the bottom or top edge. You can swipe from the top to the bottom of the screen to dock or close the current app.
Mouse equivalent: Right-click the app to see the app's commands.
Keyboard equivalent: Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + Z to open the app bar.

Swipe - Top (Metro apps)

If you want to close a Metro app, drag the app to the bottom of the screen.
Mouse equivalent: Click the top of the app and drag it to the bottom of the screen.

Slide to drag (Start menu and Metro apps)

This is mostly used to pan or scroll through lists and pages, but you can use it for moving an object or for drawing and writing.
Mouse equivalent: Rotate mouse wheel to scroll horizontally. Click, hold, and drag to pan or scroll. A scroll bar also appears at the bottom of the screen.

Pinch or stretch to zoom (Start menu and Metro apps)

Zooming provides a way to jump to the beginning, end, or a specific location within a list. You can start zooming by pinching or stretching two fingers on the screen.
Mouse and keyboard equivalent: Hold down the control key on the keyboard while using the mouse wheel to expand or shrink an item or tiles on the screen.

It's still too early in the programming phase for me to criticize Windows 8 Preview Release. Yes, I have had some issues, but nothing catastrophic (mainly video drivers). But with the new Start menu, I expected that. I have installed some of my favorite Windows programs and a couple of Metro apps from the Windows Store, and they seem to work well together. We will have to wait and see what the final release looks like.

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