Changing How the Power Button Behaves

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 27, 2019)

If you are using Windows 7, the normal way of powering down your system is to click the Start button and then use the Power button. (The Power button is visible at the bottom-right of the Start menu.) There are two parts to the Power button. The left (and largest) part shows the default action taken when you click the button. The right portion, which looks like a right-pointing arrow, allows you to pick any shutdown method you desire.

By default, the Power button normally shuts your system completely down. If you find yourself using one of the other shutdown options more often, you can modify the default action used for the Power button. Just follow these steps:

  1. Right-click an unused space on the taskbar. Windows displays a Context menu.
  2. Click Properties. Windows displays the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Start Menu tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Start Menu tab of the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box.

  5. Use the Power Button Action drop-down list to specify what you want Windows to do when you click the Power button.
  6. Click OK.

Performing these steps also adjusts the wording that appears on the Power button so that it is consistent with your desired default action.

If you are using Windows 8, the two-part power button is gone, so there is no "default action" that you can specify. Instead, there is only a single part to the power button (visible near the upper-right corner of the Start screen) and clicking it presents various shut-down options you can take. This is analogous to what you saw when you clicked the right-pointing arrow next to the power button in Windows 7.

If you are using Windows 10, there is only a single part to the power button (visible near the lower-left corner of the Start screen) and clicking it presents a context menu with various shut-down options you can take.

As with earlier versions of Windows, by default, the Power button normally shuts your system completely down. Follow these steps to modify the default action for the Power button if you are using Windows 10:

  1. Type "power" (without the quotes) in the Search box and click the Power & Sleep Settings option from the resulting list of options. Windows displays the Power & Sleep section of the Settings dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  2. Figure 2. The Power & Sleep section of the Settings dialog box.

  3. Click the Additional Power Settings link under the Related settings heading. Windows displays the System Settings dialog box. (See Figure 3.)
  4. Figure 3. The System Settings dialog box.

  5. Use the When I Press the Power Button drop-down list to specify what you want Windows to do when you click the Power button.
  6. Click Save Changes.

Performing these steps also adjusts the wording that appears on the Power button so that it is consistent with your desired default action.

 This tip (12626) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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