Three More Quick Tricks for Better Use of Windows 8.1


Do you like quick and easy tips? Here are three tricks that are simple but will make Windows 8.1 easier to use.

1. Hidden Shutdown Utility in Windows 8.1

In the C:\Windows\System32 directory of Windows 8.1 there is a little-known executable file called slidetoshutdown.exe. This is a utility to shut down the PC that seems to be aimed at touch screens but is also handy for mouse users. If you run this file, a shutdown display will appear on the desktop as illustrated below.

Slide to shut down feature

To shut down the computer, slide this display all the way down with your finger or mouse and the computer will turn off. To enable easy access to this feature, you can right-click the file slidetoshutdown.exe and choose in the context menu to either pin it to the Start screen or pin it to the Taskbar. You can also drag it to the desktop to create a shortcut there. I believe this is a hybrid shutdown with fast-startup enabled.

2. Include folders from removable storage in Windows 8.1 Libraries

In the original Windows 8, folders on removable storage could not be added to a Library but that became possible in Windows 8.1. Open File Explorer and, in the left-side pane, right-click the library of interest. In the context menu, select “Properties > Add…” A dialog box will open where you can choose folders. (If no Libraries are showing, click the View tab and check “Show libraries” in the drop-down menu for “Navigation pane”. Or right-click in an open spot in the left-side pane and check "Show libraries.)

3. Quick way to access tools for Windows 8.1 system maintenance and repair

A previous tip described system tools for troubleshooting and repairing Windows 8 systems. Here is a quick way to access these facilities in Windows 8.1. Right-click the Windows flag in the lower left corner of the screen. In the context menu go to “Restart” and hold down the Shift key while left-clicking Restart. The computer will restart and display the options shown below.

Maintenance and repair options

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's, guides, and tutorials, including a site for learning about Windows and the Internet and another with Windows 7 tips.

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Also in Windows 10 :)