How to change the default action of the Shut Down Windows dialog in Windows 8.1 and Windows 8

The "Shut Down Windows" dialog is one of the faster ways to shutdown your PC. However, in modern versions of Windows, it does not appear unless you press Alt+F4 on the desktop or unless you create a special shortcut to invoke it. In this article I would like to share a trick which allows you to change the default action of the Shut Down Windows dialog in Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.

shut down windows dialog windows 8

Previously, we covered how to change the default action of the Shut Down Windows dialog using Group Policy. But if your edition of Windows 8 does not include Group Policy Editor, then you might not be able to use that method. Instead, you can use the following trick. It is universal and works regardless of the edition of Windows 8. Follow the instructions below.

  1. Open the Registry editor (see our detailed tutorial about Registry Editor).
  2. Go to the following key:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced

    Tip: See how to open the desired registry key with one click.

  3. Create a new DWORD value named Start_PowerButtonAction. This parameter controls the default action in the classic Shut Down dialog which is displayed by the Alt + F4 hotkey.
    shutdown default action
    Set it to one of the following values in decimals depending on what you want the default action to be:2 = set "Shut down" as the default action
    4 = set "Restart" as the default action
    256 = set "Switch user" as the default action
    1 = set "Sign out" as the default action
    16 = set "Sleep" as the default action
    64 = set "Hibernate" as the default action

    Note that Sleep and Hibernate action can be inaccessible in the Shut Down Windows dialog, if you have disabled them in the Power Options Control Panel.

That's it. Now you can set the desired action as the default for the Shut Down Windows dialog in Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.

12 thoughts on “How to change the default action of the Shut Down Windows dialog in Windows 8.1 and Windows 8

  1. ALFARISA

    PLEASE I NEED YOUR HELP.
    WHERE CAN I FOUND Registry editor (see our
    THANK YOU SO MUCH
    D

    Reply
  2. David Vanderschel

    The number base for the codes needs to be decimal, but the picture shows hexadecimal selected. Very confusing.

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      I am sorry

      Reply
  3. D. K.

    Thank you for the great tip!!

    Regarding the last screenshot: In order to make this work, you would have to select “hexadecimal.”

    Hope this helps.

    Reply
  4. Falls PC

    Nice instructions except, what Dword value, 32 or 64 but???

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      You need to use 32 bit DWORD value.

      Reply
  5. Anixx

    This did not work for me in Windows 8.1. Still have “Sleep” as the default.

    Reply
  6. Frits

    Hello. This solution worked perfectly in Windows 10 as well. (build 15063.296) I was looking around for a while before I found your site. I’m glad I did. Thanks!

    Reply
  7. NO IT ISN'T

    Doesn’t work. Like the other 10 million copied cloned solutions, all this does is change what pressing the power button does.

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Because this article is about the classic Shutdown dialog, and you need to change the action for the HARDWARE button.
      Here you go: How to Change Power Button Action in Windows 10
      It is applicable to Windows 8/8.1 as well.

      Reply
  8. aaron

    Is there a way to add an argument to the default shutdown. For example every time I shutdown I want it to run ‘shutdown /p’

    Reply

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