One of the first things I do with any new Windows computer is to get the Desktop working the way that I wanted. This was one of the major reasons I stayed away from Windows 8 until Windows 8.1 was pre-installed. Fortunately, Windows 8.1 Update was promptly available after I bought my notebook, so I was able to get its additional enhancements for Desktop users.
As I previously wrote, I added a Windows Start Button program, which gave me the Start menu functions that were missing from the Desktop. It’s easy configuration options also let me set Windows 8.1 to boot to the Desktop (I know that 8.1 could already boot to the desktop, but you had to go looking for the way to make the change).
The things I set up on all the Windows computers, customizing things that are not solely Windows 8 issues, are Shutdown and Restart/Reboot icons on the Windows Desktop.
I don’t like to have to go into Metro/Modern/Tiled Mode in Windows 8, just to be able to shut down the computer. Similarly, I didn’t like to have to go through the Start menu in earlier versions (or with a Start menu add-on for Win8) to shut down or restart my computer.
The solution is to set up a Shutdown icon and a Restart icon. The shutdown.exe command has a large number of options, including Logoff and other options in addition to actually shutting down and restarting the computer.
The first step in creating the Shutdown icon is to right-click on the Desktop, hover over the New option, and select Shortcut from the fly-out menu.
The first task is to enter the appropriate command for the Shortcut to execute. In this case, we want to trigger an immediate shutdown of the computer, so the command is:
shutdown -s -t 0
shutdown /s /t 0
The help command says that the syntax uses the slash, but the dash also works, and is the form that I’ve been using for years.
To see a complete list of the options, execute the CMD command, either in the run box that’s available via Start8, or in Win8 Tiled mode, start typing CMD and select CMD.EXE. This will open a command window (we used to call these DOS windows).
and press enter. The Shutdown command, without any parameters, is the request for help (don’t try to get help with the /h option — that’s the Hibernate option).
After entering the Shutdown command and the appropriate parameters (the -t 0 means delay zero seconds before doing the -s shutdown parameter).
Other options that I often use are -h for Hibernate, -r for Restart/Reboot and -l for Logoff.
The resulting dialog box will be pre-populated with the name of the program to be executed. However, this is really a text field that is the title to be displayed on the Desktop. It does not need to have the name of the program!
after you click Finish, you have a standard icon on the Desktop. It’s time to get an icon image that we want to use for easy recognition.
Right-click on the new icon and pick Properties.
In the resulting dialog box, click on the Change Icon… button, which will open the Change Icon dialog box.
As you can see, the first thing you see is that this particular program does not have any icon images in its code. That’s ok.
Just click OK, and pick one from the resulting dialog box. Notice that you can also browse to different files to see what icons they have.
Once you have the Shutdown icon created, it’s time to make a Restart one.
Just select the Shutdown icon, press Control-C to copy, click elsewhere on the Desktop, and then Control-V to paste (to create another icon). Label it Restart. Right-click and select properties. Change the -s (for shutdown/stop) to -r for restart.
The Restart command is
shutdown -r -t 0.
Then, click the Change Icon button and select the icon image you want to use for your restart icon.
For a logoff icon, change the -s to -i and delete the -t 0 parameter. If the -t 0 is there, the logoff will not work. That’s strange.
The logoff command is only
Above, you can see the three icons I’ve created for Shutdown, Restart and Logoff. All three icon images are in available in the set shown above in the Change Icon dialog box.