How to use Keyboard Shortcuts to shutdown, hibernate, sleep or restart vista

Friday, August 29th, 2008
Last Updated:
Sunday, April 05th, 2009

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Well, I ran across this page trying to find a keyboard shortcut to shut down vista. The problem with the blog on the site, was that it explained how to create a shortcut to shut down vista, but not use the keyboard to shut down or in my case, hibernate vista.

In Windows XP, I could hit winkey + u + r to bring up the restart option, or winkey + u + h to bring up hibernate. Since XP has been around, I have noticed two options for the shutdown screen regarding standby and hibernate. One option shows: Standby | Shut Down | Restart where the other option shows Hibernate to the left of standby. I've never figured out any rhyme or reason to it, nor have I figured out how to make the 'hibernate button' show up all the time. BUT, I did read somewhere that if you press and hold the shift button on the shutdown screen, it will toggle between standby and hibernate (provided hibernate is turned on). I did some experimenting one day and found that you don't even have to hold shift to get XP to hibernate. Simply hit the h key when you are on the shutdown screen and it will hibernate!

Ok, so back to Vista which is a different beast altogether. With the new shutdown options of Vista, hitting winkey + u will just enter a 'u' in the search box instead of pulling up the shutdown options.

While creating a shortcut to the various shutdown options is now feasible with vista (xp could only do restart or shutdown) I have no need or desire to go to my mouse just to click on a shortcut. I can just as easily click on the start button and shut it down the 'normal' way. What I needed was a way to shutdown (hibernate) vista strictly from the keyboard. (My friends have nick-named me the keyboard shortcut king... I don't know if I would go as far to say that about myself, but I do like using keyboard shortcuts...)

After doing a few quick searches on google, I found that they were not bringing up any decent results (only ways to create shortcuts). I played around with some trial and error methods and finally figured out how to shut vista down with nothing but true keyboard fineness! It's not a "one button jobber" but hey, it does the trick.

Simply hit:
Winkey + (right arrow) + (right arrow) + (right arrow) + (desired shutdown key)

You have to press the right arrow 3 times to get to the shutdown options, then you are presented with the following options:

Switch User
Log Off
Shut Down

The underlined letters are the keys that you would hit to perform the respective task. (Ex. h will send the computer to hibernate)

One thing I noticed was whether you used the mouse or keyboard. If you use the mouse, you are not presented with the underlined options, but if you use the keyboard, you are presented with the underline options so you don't have to try to figure out which key to hit in order to shutdown or maybe standby/sleep.

While there is one more stroke (or two) than XP, (3 total in xp if you are using welcome screen, 4 total if domain style login (includes enter), 5 total in vista. Only tested with welcome screen login style) it really isn't that hard to hit the arrow key 3 times and once you get the hang of it you won't even notice the extra key stroke!

(I initially posted a comment with the above info on the shortcut to shutdown vista site, but then decided to blog my findings on my own site. More traffic for me!)

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