Changing the unresponsive Vista Power button

By | February 19, 2010

If you’re on Vista, one of the annoyances is when you hit the Power button, but your system just won’t shutdown and keeps going to a sleep state. In fact, the default function of the Power button in Windows Vista is Sleep.

The task of changing the power button action is much easier in Windows 7. You just need to right-click “Start” menu and then select “Properties”. The option to change the power button action will be available on the “Start Menu” tab of the properties dialog box that opens. In Vista though, this is one of the gripes.

If you’d like to have the Power button to shut down your PC, here’s how:

  • Click the “Start” button, type cmd in the “Start Search” box and then press Enter.
  • In the Command Prompt window that opens, type the following command powercfg.cpl,1 and then press Enter
  • This will display the Power Options dialog box.

Vista power button options

You can access this dialog box through Control Panel also. In the Control Panel, you need to select Power Options > Change Plan Settings > Change Advanced Power Settings.

  • Now, browse to and expand the “Power buttons and lid” option.

Vista power button options

  • Here, you can change the settings of both the hardware power button on your computer and the power button on the Start menu. You can choose to change the power button action to Sleep, Hibernate or Shutdown.

Vista power button options

Note: The screenshot above is taken on a laptop. You can see that you can configure separate power button settings when your laptop is on battery power, and when it is plugged in to power. In battery mode, it is best to configure the power button action to shutdown or hibernate mode; this helps you save battery power for later.

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