The first version of Windows 8 was notoriously difficult to shut down if you had a PC or laptop, since it was designed to work with tablets that have a sleep/wake button. Microsoft realised the error of its ways and fixed the problem in a free update. Here's how to quickly and easily shut down a Windows 8 PC.

See also: How to get a free update to Windows 10

Shutting down Windows 8: Get the latest updates

If you update - for free - to Windows 8.1 Update, Microsoft has made it considerably easier to shut down, restart or switch users.

In Windows 8.1, you can right-click on the 'Start button' on the traditional desktop. This brings up a menu, which is also accessible by pressing Win+X (the Windows key on your keyboard, along with x), where you have the old Shut down or sign out menu.

Windows 8.1 power user menu

If you prefer using the Start Screen, tap the Windows key and you'll find from the latest Windows 8.1 Update which adds a power button to the top-right corner of the screen. Click this, and you'll get the similar shut down and restart options.

Windows 8.1 start screen power menu

There's still the the option to shut down when you open the Charms bar and click Settings, then Power. See also: Windows 8 vs Windows 10 comparison

How to shut down Windows 8: Use your PC's power button

There's another way you can shut down a Windows 8 PC or laptop, and it will take you less than 30 seconds to configure:

1 - When on the Start screen, begin typing 'Control panel'. Click it in the list of results which appear.

Windows 8 search

2 - In Control Panel's search box, type 'power'. Under Power Options, click 'Change what the power buttons do'

Windows 8 Control Panel Power Options

3 - By default, 'When I press the power button:' is set to Sleep. Simply change this to Shut Down. If you have a laptop, you can choose separate behaviour depending on whether it's running on battery power or connected to the mains.

Windows 8 power button options

Now, instead of using your mouse to shut down your computer, you can quickly press the power button to achieve the same thing. We'd advise against doing this if you have children likely to press the power button, as you may lose unsaved work (a valuable lesson learned through first-hand experience).

Of course, if you're happy to leave your PC in sleep mode, you don't need to configure anything at all. Simply get into the habit of pressing your PC's power button instead of using any of the methods above to actually shut down your machine. If you have a laptop, you can merely close the lid to put Windows into sleep mode, but using the steps above you can change what that action does, too.

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