On Windows XP I had it set so that when I pressed the power button it would ask me if I wanted to shut down, restart, stand by or log out. This does not appear to be an option in Windows 7. Is there any way I can enable this function?

  • wouldn't that be a BIOS setting?
    – pavium
    Jun 14, 2011 at 12:44

1 Answer 1


The default action for the Power button on the start menu in Windows 7 is shutdown, and in Vista is Sleep, which isn’t necessarily useful for everybody, so we’ll explain how to change it here.

Change Windows 7 Shutdown Button

Windows 7 makes it really easy – just head into the Start Menu / Taskbar preferences by right-clicking on the start menu and choosing Properties.

All you need to do is change the drop-down for Power Button Action to whatever you would prefer.

Change Windows Vista Power Buttons You can configure this setting easily by using the advanced power settings panel, which is a little tricky to get to normally, but we’ll take the shortcut.

Open a command prompt (type cmd into the start menu search bar), and then type in the following:


You could also take the long route (Control Panel \ Power Options \ Change Plan Settings \ Change Advanced Power Settings)

Once you get to this dialog, browse down to “Power buttons and lid”

From here, you can change the options:

Power button action – Changes the hardware power button action
Start menu power button – Changes the power button on the Start Menu

You can change the power button to either Sleep, Hibernate or Shut Down, or even nothing for the hardware power button.

  • I actually want it to pop up a dialog and ask me what to do every time I press the power button, the way you can do it in Windows XP. Setting it to shut down or power off seems a bit dangerous, and I already have a shortcut key for standby.
    – jwaddell
    Jun 14, 2011 at 22:33
  • What you've asked for has been depricated in favor of the new functionaility as Nasenbaer described. Jun 15, 2011 at 3:11

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