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I have desktop computer running Windows 8.1, and a usb hub which I keep plugged in. The hub has an LED power indicator (pictured). This LED stays on when I shut down the computer using the start button (right click -> shut down or sign out -> shut down), but it turns off when I use the command shutdown -s -t 0 in the Run window.

So my question is whether there is a difference between these two methods, and what exactly is it?

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Shutdown command on Start screen in Windows 8 does not perform the "real" shutdown:

  • It logs off the current user, closing all the running applications, and then
  • It puts your computer into hibernate mode.

It's called Hybrid Shutdown. It is done for quicker startup time: the system does not need to perform full boot process.

When you use shutdown command, the OS shuts down completely and goes to power off mode.

This article "Windows 8: Fast Boot" provides detailed information on the old and new shutdown sequence.


To change the behavior of Shutdown button on Start screen,

  1. Open Control Panel, and click System and Security, and then click Power Options,
    Alternatively click Battery icon on the taskbar and then click More Power Options.
  2. Click Choose what the power buttons do on the left pane.
  3. Scroll the page to Shutdown settings.
  4. If Turn on fast startup check box is selected, your system uses Hybrid Shutdown.
    Clear this check box if you want "real" shutdown.
    To change this setting, you may need to click Change settings that are currently unavailable link at the top of the page.
  • Sounds convincing. Is this new in Windows 8? Do you have a reference link? – Tymric Aug 24 '14 at 13:26
  • 3
    This is new to Windows 8, shutdown command has new switch /hybrid: Performs a shutdown of the computer and prepares it for fast startup. – Alexey Ivanov Aug 24 '14 at 13:38
  • This is the way it's been since Vista, at least. In Vista it's Control Panel => Power Options =>System Settings to change it. – Daniel R Hicks Sep 7 '14 at 12:55
  • And "Hibernate" effectively turns the unit off (after caching RAM on disk), though USB ports may remain powered and portions of the CPU may be kept "warm". – Daniel R Hicks Sep 7 '14 at 12:59
  • @Daniel Yes, it's Hibernate under the hood, the difference is that you click Shutdown: Windows logs you off, closing your apps, and then hibernates. Vista or Windows 7 don't have Hybrid Shutdown, or Fast startup. – Alexey Ivanov Sep 7 '14 at 16:26
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There are multiple power states:

  • S0 : Running
  • S1-3 : Sleep
  • S4 : Hibernate
  • S5 : Shutdown (Microsoft Windows 2000 and later systems only)

Even if u "Shutdown", theres still Power running.

In Linux one can choose between "Shutdown" and "PowerOff".

Here its explained better:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/hardware/ff564571(v=vs.85).aspx

  • Interesting.. You basically have two questions: Is there a difference in cutting power to software, .. and cutting power to hardware. Software -??? In Vista/2008 the Windows GUI is still a shell, akin to a desktop in Linux, and during any proper shutdown the HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) took over the PC hardware and did the same routine. Windows 8/2012 - ??? Hardware: maybe, Depending on design and build of the PCB inside your USB hub, the circuit might behave differently each time you cut power to it. This is not unusual even with UL certified equipment. Unmanaged capacitor discharge? – arch-abit Aug 24 '14 at 3:32

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