How to create a Windows 8 shutdown and restart tile

Features David Hayward Dec 15, 2012

David Hayward shows you how to make shutting down Microsoft’s latest OS a bit less fiddly

Let’s face it, although Windows 8 is a spectacular looking UI, it has successfully managed to rub many users up the wrong way.
The learning curve for using the UI is forcing many back to the more simplistic desktops of the previous releases, and even the easy tasks of launching applications and finding your way around the system have become something of a chore.

To be honest, it’s not all that bad. Okay it’s radically different, and getting the UI to how you like takes time - something many aren’t willing to invest in - but in all consideration, once you have it looking the way you want it’s very easy to keep tidy, functional and productive.

However, there is still one particular element that bugs the heck out of most users: the shutdown and restart links. Indeed, despite having the most perfect of laid-out interfaces, you will still need to drop into the Charm bar followed by ‘Settings’ > ‘Power’ > ‘Shutdown’. It is a bit of a pain, we agree. So how about doing something about it?

Create your own shutdown button

To begin with, drop into the desktop by clicking on the appropriate tile, and right-click anywhere. In the pop-up menu, go to ‘New’, and then left-click ‘Shortcut’ and the ‘Create Shortcut’ window should now be staring at you. Click in the ‘Type the location of the item’ box, and enter the following:

shutdown.exe –s –t 00

Click on ‘Next’ to continue, then enter a name for the new shortcut. In this case it would be ‘Shutdown’, but you can enter your own expletive here, should you wish. When you’re done, click on the ‘Finish’ button and you’ll have a brand new icon on the desktop.
Unfortunately, the new icon is pretty boring-looking, so right-click it, and in the menu select ‘Properties’. In the ‘Shortcut’ tab of the properties window, click the ‘Change Icon’ button followed by ‘OK’ when the warning regarding having no icons appears.

From here, you now have the usual cast of default icons from the system set. Again, you can select your own, or you can download one if you wish, but in this example we’ll opt for the red power icon. When you have the icon you desire, click on the ‘OK’ button at the bottom of the window and you’ll now have a slightly better looking desktop icon that will shut down the PC when double-clicked.

What you need to do now, though, is place that shutdown icon on the new UI, so all that’s needed is for you to single-click and shut down. To do this, just right-click the new icon, scroll down until you reach ‘Pin to Start’, left-click, press the Windows key on the keyboard to drop back into the new UI, and drag the icon to an appropriate placement on the screen.

There you go, a decent-looking Windows 8 Tile that will shut down the PC with a single click, without having to go through the usual rigmarole of Charms and so on.

Create your own restart button

In addition to a shutdown button, how about a restart button as well? Again, it’s easy enough; simply follow the instructions above and when you get to the ‘Type the location of the item’ section, replace the above with:

shutdown.exe –r –t 00

Hopefully, with the addition of these icons, some of you will start to better enjoy Windows 8 and all it has to offer.