How to Change Default Action of Shut Down Dialog (Alt+F4) in Windows 11?

ALT+F4 is old but yet a valuable shortcut key available on Windows 11 that allows you to close opened applications or documents on Windows PC. Using this hotkey, you can close the opened windows. If no windows are opened/maximized on the Desktop, you can bring up the “Shut down” dialog using the ALT + F4 hotkey.

This is especially helpful to those who often use another option than Shut down in the ALT+F4 menu. For example, if you frequently use the “Sign out” option in the ALT+F4 menu, you can replace the default “Shut down” action to “Sign out.” Once done, the next time you press ALT+F4 hotkey, “Sign out” will be automatically selected. After pressing the ALT+F4 hotkey, just press the Enter key on the keyboard to sign out from your user account.

Clicking the drop-down menu, you can choose the following action for your computer:-

  • Switch user
  • Sign out
  • Sleep
  • Hibernate
  • Shut down
  • Restart

By default, the Shut down action is selected in the ShutDown Windows dialog. But if you need, you can replace it with any other available action using Registry Editor or Local Group Policy Editor.

In this gearupwindows article, we will guide you through replacing the default Shut Down action in the Shut Down Windows dialog using both methods.

How to Change or Replace Default Action of Shut Down Dialog (Alt+F4) in Windows 11 using Registry Editor?

Gentle Reminder: Unknowingly changing registry values may make your Windows PC non-operational; hence we recommend taking full back of registry and also creating a system restore point. If something goes wrong, you can revert your PC to its previous working state.

To change or replace the default action in the Shut Down Windows (Alt+F4), use the following steps:-

Step 1. First, open the Registry Editor.

Step 2. When the Registry Editor window appears on your computer, navigate to the following key in the left side pane:-

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced

Step 3. Then, right-click on the Advanced folder and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value option.

Step 4. Name the newly created REG_DWORD as Start_PowerButtonAction.

Step 5. Next, double-click on Start_PowerButtonAction. Select Base as Decimal. When you’re done, set any Value data from the following to make the default action for the ALT+F4 (Shut Down Windows) dialog:-

  • 1 = Sign out
  • 2 = Shut down
  • 4 = Restart
  • 16 = Sleep
  • 64 = Hibernate
  • 256 = Switch user

For example, to see Restart as the default action, set Value data to 4.

Step 6. Finally, click the OK button.

Once you complete the above steps, minimize all opened windows and press ALT+F4 (if your keyboard includes Fn key, then your combination will be Fn+ALT+F4). You will see the default action for Shut Down Dialog (Alt+F4) is changed.

How to Change or Replace Default Action of Shut Down Dialog (Alt+F4) using Local Group Policy Editor?

Quick Reminder: Local Group Policy Editor is not a part of the Windows 11 home edition. Either enable the gpedit.msc on your PC or use the Registry Editor method.

To change or replace the default action of Shut Down Dialog (Alt+F4) using Group Policy Editor, perform the following steps:-

Step 1. Open the Local Group Policy Editor.

Step 2. When the Local Group Policy Editor window appears on your computer, navigate to the following path in the left sidebar:-

User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Start Menu and Taskbar

Step 3. On the right side of the “Start Menu and Taskbar” folder, find the policy name “Change Start Menu power button.”

Step 4. Then, double click on the “Change Start Menu power button” to open it.

Step 5. After that, select the Enabled option.

Step 6. Then, choose the desired action (Switch user, Sign out, Sleep, Hibernate, Shut down, or Restart) in the drop-down menu “Choose one of the following actions.”

Step 7. Next, click the Apply button.

Step 8. Then, hit the OK button.

Step 9. Finally, reboot your machine to see the changes.

That’s it.

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