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In Windows XP, there was an option in the power controls, to have the computer's physical "soft" power button "ask me what to do." Basically, the shutdown dialog would appear, and give the option to Shutdown, Standby or Hibernate.

In Windows 7 Ultimate, the default Power Options applet has no such option, listing only Sleep/Shutdown/Hibernate, etc.

The XP behavior can be triggered in Win7 by pressing Alt+F4 when the Desktop has focus, but there seems to be no easy way to "map" this to the physical soft-power button as there was in XP.

Am I missing something obvious?

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I gave up and started using this "System Controls" gadget for that, its buttons are configurable – Moab Dec 8 '11 at 4:25
Psh, who shuts down anymore? All our machines default to Log Off. – surfasb Dec 8 '11 at 5:16
I got burned by accidentally hitting Log Off today, closed the web session I had open, and my rep. console with witch I was servicing 4 computers. Outlook having recycled items stopped it. :( I hate that button now, I want to se tit to "Nothing" on click. – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Dec 8 '11 at 5:43
@techie007 - The question refers to the physical power button on the computer, not the button on the Start Menu (which you can change via right-clicking the taskbar and choosing Properties). – Unsigned Dec 8 '11 at 14:38
@JdeBP - You are correct. However it is physical in the sense that it appears on the computer case rather than on-screen. – Unsigned Dec 8 '11 at 21:13
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Unfortunately, while that option was present in XP, it has been removed (or at least hidden, though I cannot find a way to hack it in the registry) in Windows 7; just like the old, graphical Shutdown screen/mask.

Unlike a lot of the other changes from XP to Vista/7, I don’t really mind about this one because to use it means reaching over to push it then back to the mouse/keyboard to choose what to do. In that case, you may as well use the mouse/keyboard to choose what to do in the first place and forgo the power button altogether.

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Sadly, your answer seems correct. – Unsigned Dec 22 '11 at 20:55

Have you tried this? Go into control panel > power options > choose what the power button does > when I press the power button: do nothing

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Yes, but the option missing is "Ask me what to do." I know about the "Do nothing" option. – Unsigned Dec 17 '11 at 20:30

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