Add Shutdown, Restart options to WinKey+X Power User Menu in Windows

We have seen many ways to shut down and restart Windows 8 in our previous posts, like 10 different ways to do Shutdown, Restart Windows 8 or PowerShell Scripts to create Windows 8 Shutdown, Restart Tiles on Start Screen. Now in today’s post, we will see how to add Shutdown, Restart options to WinKey+X Power User Menu in Windows 8.

The Power User menu is also called as WinX menu or Win+X menu or Windows Tools menu. It pops up by when you press WinKey+X shortcut or when you right-click in the bottom-left corner in Windows 8. You can add any shortcut you frequently use to the Power User menu, but we will focus in this post on learning how to add Shutdown and Restart option. The same method can be used for adding other applications shortcuts too. Since adding shortcuts to Power User Menu is not a routine procedure, so we will try to understand a bit more.

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Please create a restore point before trying – just in case something goes wrong.

Power User Menu or WinX Menu

If you see the Power User Menu closely, it has 3 groups of tools separated by a Separator. Their shortcuts are actually stored in folders. We will see where it is. But first, ensure that you can view the Hidden files in Windows Explorer (or File Explorer as it’s called in Windows 8). From File Explorer, click the View tab from the toolbar and check the ‘Hidden items’ checkbox.

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Now in File Explorer, go to  C:\Users\User Name\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\WinX , where <User name> is your account name.

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Or you can just copy %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\WinX\ in File Explorer address bar and press Enter to go directly to the WinX Folder.

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You will be able to see that it has three subfolders Group1, Group2, and Group3. And if we see contents of each Group:

Group 1 has:

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Group 2 has:

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And Group 3 has:

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You can make out the Power User menu shortcut and the corresponding items in the respective groups.  So looking at Power User menu, you’ll notice that these groups correspond to these three groups separated by a separator. The entries on the menu are run by clicking shortcuts (.lnk) files present in each Group folder.

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You can arrange these shortcuts by moving them from one group to the other. You can also create new group naming it as  Group 4 and move some of these shortcuts.

Add Shutdown, Restart options to WinKey+X Power User Menu

Now note one thing, if you think you can place shortcuts to Shutdown and Restart in a new group, you cannot just do it. You can’t add new shortcuts or manipulate the existing ones. I think Microsoft doesn’t want the user to meddle with this menu, overcrowding it with shortcuts or users trying to make it another kind of Start Menu, which is absent in Windows 8. Even if you add a shortcut to a new group, they won’t simply show. Microsoft adds only approved shortcuts. It uses some hashing algorithm to approve. For this approval, one can hack some related core system files, but it’s not a good idea. So Rafael Rivera of Within Windows blog has created a tool which marks the shortcut as approved.

You can download the Hashlnk tool from here.

Now we will start the steps to create Shortcuts for Shutdown and Restart. For this, we will use the Shutdown.exe, Windows Shutdown and Annotation Tool present in C:\Windows\System32\ directory. Right-click on Shutdown.exe and click on Create shortcut.

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Windows will ask to place the shortcut on the desktop, say Yes.

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Now from the Desktop, right-click the shortcut and select Properties to open the Properties window. Modify the Target by adding ‘ /s /t 0 ‘ at the end as shown. Rename the Shortcut as Shutdown.

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Similarly, create another shortcut of Shortcut.exe file and modify in Target by adding  ‘ /r /t 0 ‘ in the end as shown below and rename the shortcut as Restart.

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Actually, we have modified the parameters according to various options of the Shutdown command. You can view them at the command prompt by issuing Shutdown /? .

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Now we have both the shortcuts ready – for Shutdown and Restart. These shortcuts will have .lnk file extension. Now we will use the Hashlnk tool to get these shortcuts approved. So move these shortcuts to the folder containing the unzipped Hashlnk tool.

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Now from the folder press Shift and right-click this folder to get the option ‘Open command Window here’ to get the command prompt in that folder

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Now issue the command hashlnk shortcutname.lnk  (Replace shortcutname with whatever is the name of the shortcut, here we have Shutdown.lnk and Restart.lnk). If all goes well, you’ll see the message as shown below

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Now move these shortcuts to %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\WinX\  after creating a new folder Group 4 there. So now you have a new folder Group 4 along with Group 1,2 and 3. Group 4 contains our created and approved shortcuts for Shutdown and Restart.

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If you view the WinX menu now, these new shortcuts won’t be shown. You will have to restart your PC for them to appear. After restarting you can see the contents of our created Group 4 and its shortcuts – Shutdown and Restart  (Tip: Instead of restarting your PC, you can open Task Manager, Right click on Windows Explorer process and click on Restart).

You will now  And now you can Shutdown, Restart Windows 8 using these shortcuts in Power User menu.

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Add any shortcuts to WinKey+X Power User Menu in Windows 8

And that’s how you can add more options to WinX power User Menu. You can add your frequently used apps shortcuts too in this way.

But for those who do not want to try this manual method, they have a ready tool Win+X Menu Editor which does all this & more. We had mentioned about this in our earlier post – 5 Customization Freeware for Windows 8. But now it provides Shutdown options as well. You can download Win+X Menu Editor for Windows 8 from here. This provides Shutdown options as a preset apart from many other options related to Win+X menu.

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Try them creating your shortcuts in Win+X Power user menu manually or by using the freeware. As mentioned earlier be careful and create a system restore point first before you start tweaking.

UPDATE: Windows 8.1 users can now Shutdown, Restart, Sleep, Hibernate Windows 8.1 using the WinX Power Menu.

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The author has been a Microsoft MVP awardee in various Windows categories (2006-2016) and currently a Windows Insider MVP. A Technology Enthusiast, interested in anything technical and is committed to Microsoft technologies and products. He is actively associated with various Microsoft online communities, forums, Newsgroups and has been actively involved in Beta testing various Microsoft products and bug submissions.