Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

Ctrl+Esc, U, Enter: Shutdown Windows (XP and earlier)

Posted in Start menu,Windows by estephen on February 23rd, 2007

This is a keyboard sequence, so let’s understand it in order:

  • Ctrl+Esc opens the Start menu. (Instead, you could use the Windows key.)
  • Pressing the u key selects whichever menu item has an underlined u. In this case, we want to select the “Shut Down…” command. The “u” in “Shut Down…” is underlined, which means you can press the u key key to select it. (Note that if your menu has other options that begin with a U, such as “User Preferences,” then you’ll have to hit u more than once and then hit Enter when Shut Down is selected.)
  • A dialog box labeled “Shut Down Windows” or “Turn off computer” appears. Windows remembers the last option you selected when shutting down. If “Shut down” is the highlighted option, you can press Enter to select it. If the wrong option is selected, you can change the selected option with the arrow keys before you press Enter.

48 Responses to 'Ctrl+Esc, U, Enter: Shutdown Windows (XP and earlier)'

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  1. HiDefDog said,

    on February 24th, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    Sadly, this doesn’t work in Vista. After you hit the Windows key (or Ctrl-Esc in your example) all keyboard input then goes in to the search dialog.

  2. Tony said,

    on February 24th, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    It doesn’t work that way on mine, but that is because I use UltraVNC so that program ends up on the start menu because I use it so often.

    I have to hit ‘U’ twice to get to the right option.

  3. estephen said,

    on February 24th, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    HiDefDog, thanks for the note. I don’t have Vista yet. :) The About this blog page mentions which versions of Windows these keyboard shortcuts are intended for. After I get Vista (and learn the shortcuts), I’ll go back and update the blog.

    I have to say I’m a bit upset that Microsoft (after 12 years of being more or less consistent) is breaking backwards-compatibility for keyboard shortcuts in Vista.

    Tony, good point — I updated the original entry. For you, I recommend the following sequence instead: Ctrl+Esc, Up Arrow (which should always highlight the bottom menu item, which is Shut Down…), then Enter.

  4. BJ said,

    on February 24th, 2007 at 7:28 pm

    I always use [windows key]+U, then U again to shutdown, and [windows key]+u, then s to standby. This seems to not make my hands move around the keyboard as much.

  5. estephen said,

    on February 24th, 2007 at 8:59 pm

    Hi BJ, by default, the Windows key+U keystroke is for the Utility manager in Windows XP.

  6. James said,

    on February 25th, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    I was also really disappointed about Vista. I figure I’ll get a shutdown command line utility and give it a hotkey via the Quick Launch toolbar (for a future WKSotD, WIN+ launches a Quick Launch shortcut in Vista).

    Tony, I have a trick to get around that: right-click the icon of the program you use a lot that’s stealing a shortcut key (in this case UltraVNC) and pin it to the start menu. Then, right click the new pin entry and rename it. Change it to something that starts with an unused letter, like “Launch UltraVNC” or just “VNC Client”. You’ll know what it means, and it will restore your single-key shutdown.

  7. estephen said,

    on February 25th, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    James, thanks for the great comment (and help with Vista, which I confess I know nothing about).

    I actually do something similar with my Start menu: I rename them to put numbers in front of my added programs (and then sort them), so that the keyboard shortcuts for my most frequently used program is just the Windows key followed by a number. I have a few similar customization tips coming up.

  8. Andrew said,

    on February 25th, 2007 at 6:52 pm

    Great shortcut! I’ve used this many times myself when a monitor/graphics card was on the fritz and i didn’t want to do a hard reset.

  9. Kevin said,

    on March 12th, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    It’s not perfect, but there is a way to shut down from the keyboard in Vista.

    Press Alt+F4, then either R and Enter to restart or S, S, Enter to Shutdown.


    Press the Windows Key
    Press Right three times
    Press R to restart or U to shutdown.

  10. Dan said,

    on April 9th, 2007 at 11:07 am

    Thanks Kevin! That’s exactly what I was looking for.

  11. chen said,

    on May 10th, 2007 at 12:13 am

    website for vista shortcut keys

  12. J said,

    on June 28th, 2007 at 10:19 am

    I can’t get my vista (premium) to shut down in any of the ways you guys posted. Right now the pc is not letting me click on anything except home, sleep and lock. Are there any other ways you can suggest without having to shut down via power button?

  13. Ranchy said,

    on May 1st, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    So the memory trick for win95-2003…is

    “Windows? You up?” or


    For a “Blind Shutdown”.


  14. Ranchy said,

    on May 1st, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    grrr. didn’t take my special characters.

    windows key plus U key plus uparrow plus enter

    or ctl esc instead of windows key.

  15. Ranchy said,

    on May 1st, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    estephen, might make a good title for this page lol, and
    then have a (BV) and (AV) Before and After Vista (of course) sections of your hints.

  16. estephen said,

    on June 19th, 2008 at 12:34 am

    Thanks Ranchy! I updated the title. I’ll do a Windows Vista version after I can test a bit. Thanks so much to everyone who contributed comments about Vista — great job!

  17. on August 14th, 2008 at 4:01 am

    […] You may read more about the ways to shut down Windows XP, as well as about other interesting Windows keyboard shortcuts, on the Zeigen’s “shortcuts” blog. Share and Enjoy: […]

  18. Justin said,

    on April 10th, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    My home computer is XP, haven’t tried your method but I’ll take your word for it that it will work.

    My laptop is Vista, and I tested out the fastest way (that I know of) for the shutdown “shortcut” key:

    CTRL + ESC (or windows button)
    TAB x2
    RIGHT x2

    I’m not sure if you have to do anything extra because I haven’t tried anything past the RIGHT x2. Too lazy to wait 5 minutes for my computer to start up again if I follow through… =P

  19. Prakash said,

    on August 6th, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Hi ton all,

    I think we all want some very small and easy shortcut key to shutdown, if we can reconfigure some key that will stand for shutdown like if we press “Shift” key for 5 times it will active stick keys, in similar manner if anyone can tell us is there any other same way to shutdown our pc like suppose alt+ctrl+shift+s”=shutdown then we wont have to do any thing, do any one have any idea about any such way to configure our key?

    Thanks in advance
    to those who will suggest us the needed stps :)

  20. tony said,

    on August 25th, 2010 at 6:20 am

    yer your teachings is correct and perfect, but what about the key to restart windows , and the one to maximize your program you minimize.
    thank you very much.hope to hear from you soon.

  21. Tathagat said,

    on September 4th, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    U can also press WIN then U and again U

  22. sujal said,

    on October 6th, 2010 at 5:05 am

    hey if do this windows narator & utility maneger start it doesnot shutdon the pc
    im not using my pc

  23. rats said,

    on October 14th, 2010 at 4:53 am

    why is it that when ever i press the win key my computer shuts down?

  24. lord said,

    on October 24th, 2010 at 1:22 am

    U can press window key n then press dbl U…..;)

  25. jishnu said,

    on December 25th, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    thanks very much….this was exactly what i am looking for………..tankuu

  26. Rick said,

    on February 19th, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Thanks for this great tip. It’s always great to hack the keaboard instead of using the mouse.


  27. jane said,

    on June 25th, 2011 at 12:24 am

    i have several laptops help and support is not working ,network icon say there are no connections when they are there.on starting the dell inspiron 1018 it say windows service no responding.PLEASE HELP

  28. Harjinder Singh said,

    on August 9th, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    Ctrl+Ese, this create a underline in all the commands that appear in the start window we just click on the letter then the command is working. for example for shut down window:
    ctrl+ese, then click on U a shut down windows is appear then click U,

  29. erie said,

    on August 17th, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    make shutdown & restart icon at desktop more easy…..

  30. on September 13th, 2011 at 2:03 am

    Press WIN + R to open run command. Type “Shutdown -s -t 01” and press Enter.

    You can make the shortcut icon for shutdown by using this.

  31. Rohan said,

    on October 25th, 2011 at 5:17 am

    press windows key + 2 times u

  32. Ridwan said,

    on October 27th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    For Windows 7

    To Shutdown: Windows Key+Alt Key then F4
    To Open Run: Windows Key+R
    To Open Start Menu: CTRL+ESC
    To Lock Computer: CTRL+L
    To Select All: CTRL+A
    To Undo Something:CTRL+Z

    It might work on other softwares aswell

  33. raj varma said,

    on January 30th, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    “win+u” open the all cantrol panel item
    thank you

  34. brijesh kumar verma said,

    on February 4th, 2012 at 1:16 am

    shutdown- windows+u+u

  35. FAYE said,

    on March 10th, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    hi, please help me. i’m just wondering and a bit annoyed every time i press CTRL on my keyboard my PC shutdown! how is it possible? that’s why i cannot use it when selecting a multiple items e.g pics, files at the same time.
    can you help me fix it?

  36. estephen said,

    on March 12th, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Faye, that’s bizarre. What version of Windows are you using? Does your keyboard have two Ctrl keys? If so, does the problem happen with both?

  37. nimd4 said,

    on March 20th, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Just btw., it has been posted for new(er) versions of Windows as “Windows, Right, Space: Shutdown in Windows 7” @

  38. amol said,

    on April 8th, 2012 at 9:04 am

    shutdown : window+u+u then Enter
    to start windows : amol12#

    create by me

  39. sandy said,

    on April 27th, 2012 at 5:17 am

    thank you

  40. Man said,

    on June 25th, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    My task bar ,nt appear.what wil i do? I can’t shutdown my laptop.its nw on sleep mode.

  41. Daniel said,

    on July 19th, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Help me! When i open my computer the microsoft runing image is apeared but after that theres no program will apear in the monitor even i wait it for a day..wat should i do to fix this.

  42. rohan said,

    on September 22nd, 2012 at 4:23 am

    @ Daniel…your os is corrupted…re-install windows..

  43. mohan soni said,

    on May 17th, 2013 at 11:19 pm


  44. Veera.avk said,

    on April 11th, 2014 at 7:00 am


  45. Veera.avk said,

    on April 11th, 2014 at 7:02 am

    Widows xp winkey+u+u

  46. chief Henry said,

    on April 15th, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Windows key + alt + F4

  47. venkt kota said,

    on July 7th, 2014 at 2:07 am

    start run then type shutdown -s than automatic shutdowns after 30 sec

  48. nasiru said,

    on July 7th, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    ha to shotdown a system using a shotcut key it is just
    as easy as to on the system.

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