Create a shortcut to shut down

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

Q. There’s got to be a faster way to shut down my XP computer than going through the Start button. Can’t I create a clickable shortcut to shut down my computer? Thanks, Mr. M.

A. Yes, you sure can. Right-click a blank area of your Desktop, then click New > Shortcut and in the “location” field that appears, enter the following, without quotes: "shutdown -s -t 0". You must type it precisely, spaces and all, so make sure there is a space before each hyphen and that’s a zero at the end, not the letter O.

Breaking that command line down, the -s tells the computer to shut down; the -t 0 instructs the timer to shut down immediately, and not to dawdle.

Click Next and in the “Name” field, type “Shutdown” or “Jiffy Close,” or some other descriptive label, and click Finish. Whenever you want to shut down in the future, simply double-click your new shortcut.

Q. I’m having a problem with my sound card, but I don’t know where to get any information about it so I can replace it with the same kind of card. Where can I find that?

A. You can view that information by clicking Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Information (or Accessories > System Information, depending on the version of Windows you're using).

Within the System Information window, click the + symbol next to Components. Next, click Sound Device (or Multimedia > Sound Device), and in the right window frame you will see complete information about your installed sound card.

Bonus Tip: You can print an inventory of every component in your system by using the free Belarc Advisor ( Keep the printout in a safe place. If your computer is ever stolen, the inventory will document its exact configuration for insurance purposes.

Q. The icon for My Documents suddenly disappeared. Can you tell me how to get it back?

A. Because icons occasionally slither off the screen, first right-click your Windows Desktop and select Arrange Icons By, then select Auto Arrange. That will cause all your Desktop icons to snap to a pre-configured grid pattern, thus bringing any recalcitrant icons out of hiding.

If it fails to reveal itself, click Start > Programs > Accessories > Windows Explorer. Locate your My Documents folder in the left window pane. Right-click it, then click Copy. Right-click an empty area on your Desktop and select Paste Shortcut. Select Yes if asked if you would like to create a shortcut to My Documents.

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