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Log off and shut down, versus shut down on Widows 10 based computers.

Back in the good old days of Windows XP and Windows 7 (and in fact every other version of Windows I can think of), when you shut down your Windows based computer, you would be automatically logged out of Windows. It makes perfect sense that this would be so.

Microsoft decided to mix things up a bit and change this in Windows 10 so that now, when you shut down a Windows 10 based computer, you are not automatically logged out at shutdown time. Microsoft will probably have done this to “improve the user experience” so that when the computer is switched on again, the user profile is ready quicker. Maybe they did this because the hibernation features of Windows have always been a bit dodgy.

On the face it, this make sense, but like many of Microsoft’s ideas, it turns out to be a real pain in the backside for users and IT support staff alike. When programs are installed that require a reboot to work properly users must be logged out first, but in order to do this we have to log on as the user and then log them off. This can require us to ask the user for their Windows password, or reset the users password if they are not present. It gets in the way of effective support and causes a hassle for users.

As a result then we may from time to time ask you to log off and then shut down, but what does this mean? It seems bizarre to have to explain this but many users are not even aware of the log off option (and in fact this has been renamed to sign out).

How to sign out from and then shut down a Windows 10 based computer.

To sign out of  your computer, move your mouse to the Windows Start Menu, and then hover over the “user” shaped icon. Once you’ve done that, the sign out option will appear. Press sign out and you’ll be returned to the Windows 10 sign in screen.



After you have signed out, you’ll be dropped back to the Windows 10 login screen, but it’s not immediately clear how to shut down the computer from this state because you’ll be given a Windows 10 background and no option to power off. resolve this by pressing the ‘Esc’ escape key at the top left of your keyboard, and you’ll see the power icon appear in the bottom right hand corner, like that shown below. Press Shut down and you’ll have completed the process.


If you have any questions about this process please do contact us using the usual methods.