Turn Vista's Sleep Button Into a Power Button

As a recent Vista convert (I just couldn't cling to XP any longer--a subject for another day), I'm mostly liking the OS. But I do have one small grievance: When I click the Start button and then click what looks like a power button, my system doesn't actually shut down. Instead, it goes to sleep.

Hey, Microsoft: I don't want it to go to sleep. I want it to shut down! But that requires an annoying extra step: I have to mouse over to another menu and choose Shut Down from a list of half a dozen options. If I'm in a hurry, it's way too easy to inadvertently click the wrong wrong.

Fortunately, there's a way to reprogram that "sleep" button to become an actual power button. Here's the process in a nutshell:

1. Open the Control Panel and go to Power Options.
2. Click Change plan settings for your selected power plan.
3. Click Change advanced power settings.
4. Expand Power buttons and lid.
5. Expand Start menu power button.
6. Change the setting from Sleep to Shut down.
7. Click OK.

Wow, could Microsoft have buried that setting any deeper? Thankfully, Windows 7 makes it much easier to reprogram this button's function. Now if we could just get an honest-to-goodness Shut Down button that doesn't require a visit to the Start menu, we'd really be making progress.

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