Shutting Down Your Computer

What We'll Learn

  1. How to properly shutdown your computer
  2. Software Updates that happen during shutdown
  3. Purpose of various shutdown choices, including Stand-by and Hibernate

Shut Down Process

Your computer is doing a lot of things, even when you aren't actually using it. It's important to do a proper shut down of your computer to make sure that everything is reset and closed down correctly.   If you simply "pull the plug" things can end abruptly and in some cases you could lose information on your machine.
It's important to use the Turn Off Computer button (Windows XP) or the Shut Down menu selection in (Windows 7) to properly shut down your computer.
Once you choose the button, wait for the system to completely power off before moving it or disconnecting it from the wall plug. 

Exercise 1 - Power Down Your Computer

Try these steps to shut down your computer:
  1. Click the Start button
  2. Depending on your version of Windows:
    • Windows XP - Click the Turn Off Computer button, then click the Turn Off button.
    • Windows Vista - Click the Right Arrow beside the Padlock icon, then choose Shut Down from the menu.
    • Windows 7 - Click the Shut Down button.
  3. Wait for your computer to completely power down.

Updates That Run During Shut Down

Occassionally Microsoft Windows will need to run updates that can only install when the computer is shutting down.  When that happens, you will see a change in the shut down buttons as indicated in the pictures below:
Shield on button - Updates are pending.
It is important to not interrupt these updates, and let them complete successfully.  The computer will shut down once the updates are finished.  This is also why it is important to shut your computer down occassionally so that these updates can be installed.

Sleep, Hibernate, and Restart

In addition to the usual power down, there are several other options when turning off your computer:
  • Restart - does a normal shut down and then immediately starts your computer up again.
  • Sleep or Stand-by - allows you to put your computer into a low-power state while preserving what you are working on. The contents of RAM are maintained so you can quickly go to full-power and resume where you left off. 
  • Hibernate - allows you to copy what you are currently working on and shut down so you can later power up with exaclty the same programs and information coming up automatically.  The system copies the contents of RAM to a special location on your Hard Drive and then reloads it on power up. 

Exercise 2 - Go To Sleep

Try putting your computer to sleep and then re-awaken it:
  1. Click the Start button
  2. Click the Right Arrow beside the Shut Down button, then choose Sleep from the menu.
  3. Wait for your computer to go into a low-power mode (blank screen).
  4. Press the physical Power Button on your computer to wake it up again.
Often systems will be set to go into a sleep mode automatically after a period of inactivity.