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As of (I believe) Windows 8, when a user "turns off" the machine it actually goes into some kind of hibernation mode to facilitate a quick boot-up. The only way I've found to actually turn off a Windows 8-10 machine is to go to the terminal and use the "shutdown -s -t 0" command, or make a shortcut that does it for me.

Is there any way to fully turn off windows when the command line is inaccessible?

  • I've tried that in the past, and it doesn't work. Windows simply goes into its "shut down" hibernation mode faster. Have you tried using the advanced options menu? – CoilKid Jul 2 '16 at 17:50
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If you shift click the power button in the lower right-hand corner of the login screen and select "restart", Windows will reboot into its "advanced options" screen. On the first options page it should say something along the lines of "Continue to Windows 10", "Advanced Options", and "Shutdown Computer". If you choose the shutdown option, it will fully shut down Windows.

It's probably a bit more complex than you were hoping for, but it should work every time.

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There is this trick to make command line accessible. I admit I have not tested it, I can't test it now. You have access to your computer, so you don't need all the steps described there. This should work:

At the (elevated) Command Prompt, replace sethc.exe with cmd.exe by running this command:

copy c:\windows\system32\sethc.exe c:\windows\system32\sethc_backup.exe
copy /y c:\windows\system32\cmd.exe c:\windows\system32\sethc.exe

Disclaimer: sethc.exe is Windows High Contrast Invocation. It can be activated on login screen. With this trick you can activate cmd.exe instead. (The first command is just to make backup in case you want to revert.)

When you are on Windows login screen, press Shift five times to launch Command Prompt (originally it should activate high contrast or so). Then you can invoke shutdown -s -t 0.

It is insecure in a way that anyone with access to your login screen can run Command Prompt if one knows about your hack or suspects you may have done it, or by mistake, or with intention to set high contrast. However with some simple programming you should be able to create fake sethc.exe that will completely turn off your Windows without exposing Command Prompt to everyone.

This solution probably won't be good if you use high contrast and need original sethc.exe.

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