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How to shut down Windows 8.1 in the new update

The Windows 8.1 Update launched on Tuesday adds yet another way to shut down or restart your PC.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

How can you shut down Windows 8.1 with the latest update installed? Much more easily than in the past, thank you Microsoft.

Windows 8 was dinged by complaints that the Shut Down and Restart commands were too hard to find. In response, Microsoft has since added a number of options for shutting down or rebooting your PC. The new Windows 8.1 Update adds yet another way, and this is the one Microsoft should have given us in the first place.

First, make sure you've installed Tuesday's update to Windows 8.1. To install it, launch the Charms bar, click the Settings icon, and then click Change PC Settings. At the PC Settings screen, click the setting for Update and recovery. Make sure the option for Windows Update is selected.

Click the Check Now button and then the View Details link. If no new updates are available, then Tuesday's update has likely already been installed. If you see a long list of updates, then click the Install button to install them.

After installation, check the Start screen. You should now see a new Power Options button at the top of the screen next to your account photo. Note that this button will appear on desktops and laptops but not on pure tablets. Click that button.

A menu pops up with several options, including Shut Down. A desktop will likely display options for Shut Down and Restart, while a laptop should add options for Sleep and Hibernate. Click the option to Shut Down, and Windows will do the rest.

OK, that's fine. But what if you want to shut down or restart Windows from the desktop? You can still use any of the familiar features and tricks from the past. Perhaps the easiest way is to right-click on the Start button, select Shut Down or Sign Up from the popup menu, and then choose the appropriate option.

For even more ways to exit or restart Windows 8.1, you can read my previous how-to piece from November of 2013.