4 Ways to Shut Down Your Windows 11 Device

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Leaving your PC on all the time might be convenient, but you should still shut it down roughly once a week. Turning your computer off gives it a chance to close out of background processes that can accumulate over time and drain your PC’s performance. 

Shutting down also gives your computer’s components — such as its cooling system — a chance to rest. 

Just like any other machine, computers can break if they run nonstop for too long. Sleep mode helps minimize that risk, but your computer can still benefit from a complete shutdown from time to time. 

Restarting your PC is sometimes required to apply important updates, including security patches, which is why you should shut down or restart every week or so. 

Here are a few of the ways to turn off or restart your PC in Windows 11.

How to shut down and restart via taskbar

1. Click the Start button on your taskbar. (The Start button looks like four squares.) 

2. Click the circular power button in the bottom right of the Start menu.

3. Then choose if you’d like to shut down your computer, restart it or put it to sleep.

If you’re all about efficiency, you can save a step when shutting down this way1. Right-click the Start button on your taskbar and mouse over Shut down or sign out

2. Select Shut down, sleep, restart or sign out

Windows 11 task bar showing shut down optionsWindows 11 task bar showing shut down options

Right-clicking on the Start button is another way to shut down your PC.

Screenshot/Adam Benjamin CNET

How to shut down and restart with shortcuts

1. On your desktop press Alt + F4 (be warned: if you have a browser or other app open, this will instantly close the app). Windows will ask you whether you want to shut down, switch users, sign out, put your computer to sleep or restart your computer.

2. Select your preferred option and then click OK.

Windows 11 shutdown menuWindows 11 shutdown menu

When you press Alt + F4 from the desktop, Windows 11 will ask you what you’d like to do.

Screenshot/Adam Benjamin CNET

You can also use a classic combination to force a shutdown.

1. Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete simultaneously to pull up the options menu

2. Click the circular power button in the bottom right corner of your screen

3. Choose Sleep, Shut down or Restart