I have a new computer that I want to make a backup of (prior to creating a user account or anything like that) - and keep ending up in the "Region and language" screen, that then goes to the "time zone" screen, etc. - is there any key combination to bring up something useful? something like "cancel setup" or "shutdown" - CMD would be fine.

Alt + F4 does not work, Ctrl + atl + del does not work, esc does not work, I don't know of anything else to try.

P.S. - I need the computer shut down, not hibernated. I suppose holding the power down until it does a hard shut-down is possible, but it's hard to tell if I did it right or if it hibernated instead.

  • Don't think there is a way to do what you are asking. It is trying to complete the Out Of Box Experience (OOBE). Didn't this new computer come with a recovery method of the original image? Sounds like you might be reinventing the wheel. What research have you done? – CharlieRB Sep 30 '14 at 19:36
  • Tried CTRL + SHIFT + F3 yet? It should bring up SysPrep mode. You should be able to cleanly shut down the system from there. Other than that, pressing (not holding) the power button should trigger a shutdown. – Daniel B Sep 30 '14 at 19:40
  • @CharlieRB - it does come with a recovery partition, however I want to back that up and move it to another disk. There is also the option of purchasing recovery media for $25.. not something I plan to do until I completely give out on it – user2813274 Sep 30 '14 at 19:46
  • @DanielB Thanks for the SysPrep mode, that worked (feel free to make an answer out of it) - unfortunately pressing the power button does not shut it down, rather it hibernates it (this is a laptop).. – user2813274 Sep 30 '14 at 19:55

Well, then, again. :)

When at the start of the OOBE wizard, whether after installing Windows yourself or when first booting a OEM PC (I guess), you can press CtrlShiftF3 to enter Audit mode. This mode can be used to customize a Windows installation, much like an OEM does. Although they only do it once, of course.

After getting logged in, there are options for rebooting and whatnot. Just shut down or reboot from there. Rebooting (and then turning the machine off) is probably safer with Windows 8+, considering Fast Boot and all.

There’s further information and an exhaustive guide on SysPrep available here.

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  • During initial install (before first boot) there are a couple things provided like language, region and product key. When you boot into audit mode and then choose OOBE and shutdown, on next boot you'll be reprompted for the product key. In my case, I am trying to prep an older computer for resale and I want the product key already entered when they first boot. – Micah Zoltu Feb 7 '16 at 7:32

When at the Personalize screen, press ShiftF10 to bring up a command prompt. Once the command prompt is open type shutdown /s. The shutdown command will appear to finish immediately, but if you wait ~30 seconds (add /t 0 , for no wait) (nothing appears to happen during this time) the computer will do a clean shutdown. On next startup, it will take you back to the same Personalize screen.

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  • 1
    This is the answer. Don't reboot back into OOBE. – Eric Duncan Sep 4 '17 at 17:27
  • This answer is simpler and easier than the accepted answer, so I would reccomend using this unless you actually want to use Audit Mode or Sysprep. – Earl Sven Dec 22 '18 at 17:35

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