How to Exit from Windows 8 - dummies

How to Exit from Windows 8

By Andy Rathbone

Ah! The most pleasant thing you’ll do with Windows 8 all day could very well be to stop using it. Exiting Windows brings a new hurdle to the process, however: You must decide whether to Lock, Sign Out, Shut Down, Restart, or Sleep your computer.

The answer depends on how long you’re abandoning your computer. Are you simply stepping away from the computer for few moments, or are you through working for the day?

if you don’t want to trudge through a manual in order to turn off your PC, here’s the quickest way to turn it off:

  1. Move your mouse pointer to the bottom-right corner to fetch the Charms bar. (On a touchscreen, swipe inward from the right edge.)

  2. Click the Settings icon and then click the Power icon.

  3. Choose Shut Down.

  4. If the computer protests, saying you’ll lose unsaved work, choose Sleep instead.

How to temporarily leave your computer and Windows 8

Windows 8 offers three options when you’re leaving your computer temporarily, perhaps to reheat some fish in the office microwave and sneak back to your cubicle before anybody notices. To make the right choice among the three “temporary leave” scenarios in Windows 8, follow these steps:

  1. Return to the Start screen.

    Press the Windows key or summon the Charms bar and click the Start icon.

  2. Click your user account picture in the Start screen’s upper-right corner.

    There, you can choose one of three options:

    • Lock: Meant to add privacy while you take short trips to the water cooler, this option locks your PC, veiling your screen with the Lock screen picture. When you return, unlock the screen and type your password; Windows quickly displays your work, just as you left it.

    • Sign Out: Choose this when you’re through working at the PC and somebody else wants to have a go at it. Windows saves your work and your settings and then returns to the Lock screen, ready for the next person to log on.

    • Another account: Below your name, Windows lists names of other accounts on the computer. If one of those people wants to borrow the computer for a few minutes, let him choose his name from the list. When he types in his password, his customized screen appears, ready for him to work. When he signs out and you log back in, all your work reappears, just as you left it.


Each of the three options lets you give up your computer for a little while, but leaves it waiting for your return.

How to leave your computer and Windows 8 for the day

When you’re done computing for the day — or perhaps you just want to shut down the laptop while on the subway or that flight to Rome — Windows 8 offers three ways to handle the situation.

You can find each option by following these steps:

  1. Summon the Charms bar.

  2. Click the Settings icon.

    This icon, shaped like a gear, is clearly labeled. Finally!

  3. Click the Power icon.

    The Power icon’s pop-up menu offers three settings.


    Here’s the rundown on your options:

    • Sleep: The most popular choice, this saves your work in your PC’s memory and on its hard drive and then lets your PC slumber in a low-power state. Later, when you return to your PC, Windows quickly presents everything — even your unsaved work — as if you’d never left. And if the power goes out, your PC will still wake up with everything saved, but it will take a few more seconds.

    • Restart: Choose this option as a first cure when something weird happens (a program crashes, for example, or Windows seems dazed and confused). Windows turns off your computer and then starts itself anew, hopefully feeling better. (Newly installed programs sometimes ask you to restart your PC.)

    • Shut Down: This turns your computer off completely. It’s just like Restart but without turning back on again.

That should be enough to wade through. But if you have a little more time, here are some other facts to consider:

You don’t have to shut down your computer each night. In fact, some experts leave their computers turned on all the time, saying it’s better for their computer’s health. Other experts say that their computers are healthier if they’re turned off each day. Still others say the Sleep mode gives them the best of both worlds. However, everybody says to turn off your monitor when you’re done working. Monitors definitely enjoy cooling down when not in use.

Older computers without much extra memory don’t offer a Sleep option. Without enough memory, they can’t store your work until you return. Unless you pony up for a memory upgrade, you’re stuck with the Shut Down or Restart options.

Don’t just press your PC’s Off button to turn off your PC, or you might lose unsaved work. Instead, be sure to shut down through one of its official options: Sleep or Shut Down. Otherwise, your computer can’t properly prepare itself for the dramatic event, which can lead to future troubles.

Want your laptop or tablet to wake up in Airplane mode, cut off from Internet access? Then switch to Airplane mode and use Sleep rather than Shut Down. When your laptop or tablet wakes back up, it stays in Airplane mode, disconnected from the Internet.

For more information about Windows 8 and its features, explore Windows 8 For Dummies, available online.