Creating Quick Shutdown Shortcuts in Windows

If you are running Windows XP, which I imagine most of you are, it is very easy to make shortcuts on your desktop. "Quick Shutdown" and "Quick Reboot" icons are very convenient tools for your Windows system. In this case, "Quick" means "do it now; do not ask if I want to shut down, reboot or go to logoff."

Let's create a the Quick Shutdown icon, first.

For Windows XP, the first thing you need to do is get to a blank space on your Windows XP Desktop. Then right-click to get the popup context menu. Select "New" from the menu, and "Shortcut" from the new resulting menu. This will create a shortcut on your desktop, labelled "New Shortcut" Do not worry about the label. We'll fix that as part of the setup.

You will also get a message box whose title line reads "Create Shortcut." The text box, inside that message box, is labelled "Type in the location of the item:". There is also a "Browse..." button beside the text box, which you could use to find and select a program to be run by the icon..

We know what we want to use, so in the text box, type the following characters:
shutdown -s -t 0
(be sure to include the word shutdown!) which means "run the program shutdown.exe, delay for 0 seconds and shut down the computer." then, click Next.

On the next screen, you will get a chance to name the icon. The default will be
although you do not have to use that. In that box, type "Quick Shutdown" without the quotation marks. Click Finish.

The icon will work now, but it is awfully plain. Let's pick a nicer icon for this.

Right-click on the Quick Shutdown icon to get a context menu, and pick Properties. A small window that has several tabs will open up. Stay on the Shortcut tab, and click the "Change Icon.." button. You will get an warning message that says "The file %windir%\system32\shutdonw.exe contains no icons. Pick an icon from the list or specify a different file. Click OK.

The Change Icon menu will open up. You can pick a different file that contains icons, but let's stay with the default file

You can scroll and look at all the icons, if you like. For Quick Shutdown, I like the one that looks like a stylized on-off switch -- it's on the fourth row and the seventh column, in my system. It is an orange square, ,with a white circle and a white vertical bar inside the circle. Select it, and click OK on the Change Icon window. You should see the new icon now on the Shortcut tab in the Quick Shutdown Properties window. Click OK or Apply and OK. You should now see that the icon on the desktop has been replaced by your selected icon. It's that easy.

To create a Quick Reboot icon, use the characters:
shutdown -r -t 0
(that's a lower case R, short for reboot).

To creat a Quick Logoff icon, use the characters:
shutdown -l -t 0
(that's a lower case L, not a number 1, short for logoff).

I almost always use my Quick Shutdown and Quick Reboot, instead of doing it via the start menu. There are more complicated commands that will let you do this with earlier Windows operating systems.

By the way, %SystemRoot% and %windir% are global variables available in Windows XP. In most cases, they mean the same thing: C:\Windows.

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