How To Properly Shut Down A Windows 10 PC

Screenshot: David MurphyScreenshot: David Murphy

It sounds weird, but when you click that power button on the start menu to shut down Windows 10, you aren’t shutting down Windows 10. Sure, Windows 10 goes through the motions of shutting down. And your computer sure looks like it shut down. And it sort of did, but it didn’t.

This is an older Windows 10 quirk, but one worth highlighting every now and then in case you forgot that “shut down” isn’t really “shut down”. What you’re actually doing when you shut down your computer is putting it into a hybrid state, the “fast startup” feature enabled by default in Windows 10’s settings. As Windows Central describes:

With fast startup enabled, choosing to shut down your PC might look like you’re completely shutting things down, but in reality, your PC is entering a mix between a shutdown and hibernation. A hibernation file is indeed used, although it is smaller than usual. Why? You’re logged off before the file is created, meaning your session is not recorded. The speed boost comes from the Windows kernel being saved on your hard drive and loaded when booting.

Why should you shut down your PC?

There’s nothing wrong with Windows 10’s fast startup feature. Depending on your system configuration, it can do a good job of getting you back into the operating system nice and fast when you “power up” your PC.

However, there are times when you might want to shut down your system the real way – if you’re having an odd issue with Windows, for example. As How-To Geek notes, a standard shut down might not be enough to get Windows to stop freaking out during these fun moments:

We’ve personally experienced this problem ourselves. When faced with weird system problems that may be caused by a buggy driver or other low-level software issues, the problem persisted after shutting down our PC and booting it back up.

A quick trick you can try is to just restart your system, which discards the Windows kernel instead of creating a snapshot for a speedier startup. But if you’d prefer to power down your system for real, you have a few options:

Consider disabling fast startup

Shut down your system like you normally would, pull out your favourite stopwatch app on your smartphone, and time how long it takes for your computer to boot into Windows when you start it back up. Write that number down – or just remember it.

Now, click on the Start button, type in “power”, select the “Power & sleep settings” option, and click on “Additional power settings”. In the window that appears, click on “Choose what the power buttons do” in the left sidebar, and deselect “Turn on fast startup (recommended)”. You might have to first click on the “Change settings that are currently unavailable” to uncheck fast startup.

a screenshot of a cell phoneScreenshot: David Murphy

Shut down your system again. Time how long it takes your computer to boot into Windows when you start back up. If the difference between this number and the last number is extreme, go turn fast startup back on. If it’s just a few seconds, or an amount of time you don’t feel like you’re even going to notice in everyday use, you can leave fast startup unchecked to ensure that you’re always (really) shutting off your PC.

Fast startup might also make no difference whatsoever. When I clocked my times, I got 29 seconds from button-press to Lock screen with “fast startup” enabled… and 27 seconds with it turned off. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The hybrid approach to managing a hybrid shutdown

a screenshot of a cell phone: Screenshot: David MurphyScreenshot: David Murphy

If you want to use Windows’ fast startup, but still want the option to perform a full shutdown whenever you think you might need it, there are a few tricks you can try.

The easiest method is to simply hold down the shift key before you click the power icon and select “shut down” on Windows’ Start Menu, the Ctrl+Alt+Del screen or its Lock screen. This will force your system to actually shut down your PC, not hybrid-shut-down your PC.

If you want to get fancier, you can also shut down your system (for real) from the Command Prompt: Just type in “shutdown /s /f” and hit Enter. The /s flag indicates you want to shut down your system, and /f means you want to force any open applications to close (If you add /t and a number, you can also give yourself that many seconds of a delay before your system powers down.)

You can even make this little command a desktop shortcut for easier access. Right-click on your Windows 10 desktop, select New, and then Shortcut, and enter this for the shortcut’s location: (Thanks to Lifehacker reader CmdrKeene for the note about the smaller shortcut!)

a screenshot of a social media postScreenshot: David Murphy

After that, click Next, give your shortcut a fun name (such as “Recycle Bin”), and click Finish. The next time you want to turn off your PC, just double-click on your shutdown shortcut. Better yet, drag it to your toolbar for easier access (and all the hilarity that comes from accidentally clicking “SHUT DOWN” when you meant to click File Explorer).

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Windows users, beware: This fake update could lock up your PC, or worse

Updating to Windows 10? Don’t fall victim to this spam email attack.


With the end of support for Windows 7 coming in January, many users are looking to update to Windows 10 to continue getting security updates and support from Microsoft. According to a Tuesday report from security firm Trustwave, attackers are well aware of this and are targeting Microsoft users with fake Windows update emails that will infect computers with ransomware — an especially sinister type of malware that locks up valuable data on your computer, and demands that you pay a ransom to release it or your data will be destroyed.

The spammers are sending some Windows users emails with subject lines “Install Latest Microsoft Windows Update now!” or “Critical Microsoft Windows Update!” The emails, which claim to be from Microsoft, include one sentence in the message body, which starts with two capital letters, Trustwave found. They ask recipients to click an attachment to download the “latest critical update.”


The attachment has a .jpg file extension, but is actually a malicious .NET downloader, which will deliver malware to your machine. The ransomware, called bitcoingenerator.exe, encrypts the recipient’s files, and leaves a ransom note titled “Cyborg_DECRYPT.txt” on their desktop, asking for $500 in bitcoin to unlock the files.


The ransomware came from a Github account, which was active during Trustwave’s investigation but has since been removed, the firm noted. Still, this form of ransomware can be created and spread by anyone who gets hold of the builder, attaching it to different types of emails to get through spam filters.

Most ransomware attacks come in through email, so users should be wary of opening any email attachment or link from an unknown sender, even if it seems to be from a reputable company (hackers impersonate Microsoft more than any other brand when sending spam emails, a May report from Vade Secure found). Misspelled words or poor formatting are often clues of an attack.

“This is a very common type of phishing attack — where the attacker tries to convince the target to open a malicious attachment,” Karl Sigler, threat intelligence manager of Trustwave SpiderLabs, said in an email. “Windows users should understand that Microsoft will never send patches via email, but rather use their internal update utility embedded in every current Windows operating system. Users should always be wary of any unsolicited emails, especially those that present urgency to open attachments or click on links.”

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Amazon Alexa Will Soon Let You Pay Bills With Your Voice

Amazon is soon going to launch a brand new feature that will allow users to use Alexa to pay their bills. Amazon today previewed the new feature at a conference, where the company demoed the new feature.

The new feature will allow users to simply use Alexa to not only pay their utility bills but even get information about their bills.

Amazon says the new feature will allow users to use Alexa to get notified about their upcoming due dates for bills. The feature will work by Alexa “linking” with your water, gas, and electric bills. You can even ask Alexa questions about your bills, including things like  “Alexa, compare my electric bill to last month,” “Alexa, did I pay my electric bill?,” or “Alexa, when is my electric bill due?”

Amazon makes it easy for you to stop Alexa from knowing about your bills, so you can simply say “Alexa, disconnect my electric bill” to unlink an account. There are a couple of other commands available, including things like “Did my bill payment go through?” or “When is my gas bill due?”

The feature is powered by Amazon Pay, and the company says it will be available “soon”.

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Microsoft Announces Major Updates for Outlook on Apple’s platforms

Just ahead of its Ignite conference, Microsoft has announced major updates to its Outlook mobile app on Apple’s mobile devices.

“Microsoft understands that people have choices when it comes to their preferred apps as well as the devices they carry in their pocket,” Microsoft’s Eugenie Burrage writes in a new post to the firm’s TechCommunity site. “Our goal is for Outlook to be your email and calendar app of choice on your Apple mobile devices. As your trusted organizer, to help balance your time and easily stay on top of what matters, Outlook for iOS is uniquely crafted to make you feel at home on your device of choice.”

On iOS, Microsoft will soon release an update to Outlook that provides options related to the system’s Do Not Disturb feature.

“You will be able to choose to silence your email notifications when you need to, such as until tomorrow, or on a scheduled basis, such as evenings or weekends,” Burrage notes. “This way you can focus on things other than what’s arriving in your inbox.” (This functionality is already available in Outlook for Android.)

Outlook users on iOS will also soon be able to customize their work hours and work days to accommodate our shifting schedules.

On iPadOS, the version of iOS tailored to iPads, Microsoft will enhance Outlook to support Split View “in the coming weeks.” This will allow iPad-using customers to open multiple emails at the same time or see their email message list and calendar side-by-side.

Microsoft will also support new multitasking features in iPadOS, like drag and drop. “For example, with a browser open next to an email you’re composing, you will be able to copy text and links by dragging and dropping it into the message with your pen or finger,” Burrage says.

On Apple Watch, Outlook users can already add Outlook complications to their chosen watch face. Now, you can configure which Outlook-based notifications appear on Apple Watch too, plus see your latest unread emails, view your schedule, and dictate quick reminders.

Finally, Microsoft is also upping its game on Siri, as it now supports Siri Shortcuts for Outlook.

“You can record personalized shortcuts such as ‘what’s my next meeting’ or ‘I’m running late’,” Burrage explains. “Simply ask Siri and you can stay on top of what matters without opening the Outlook app.  [You can] get up to date or take action from the lock screen even if your device screen is off.”

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How to set up an Outlook email account on your iPhone in the Mail app

Fortunately, it’s easy to add most email addresses to your Mail app, including Outlook, which is one of the most popular softwares for business email accounts.

Here’s how to do it.

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How to set up Outlook on your iPhone in the Mail app

1. Tap on Settings.

2. Scroll down to and tap on “Password & Accounts” (it should be about halfway down the page).

3. Tap on “Add Account.”


Select Add Account.

4. This will take you to a screen with several of the most popular email applications listed. Tap on


5. A new screen will ask you to type in your Outlook email and password.

6. It will then ask if you want to give the app access to your account. Click “yes” to activate email functionality. This will allow for a seamless integration of calendars and contacts with your Mail app, and also allow you to send and receive emails using your Mail app.

7. You can choose what you wish to share — including email, contacts, calendars, reminders, and notes. You can adjust these settings later on, too.

8. Tap on “Save” in the right corner of the box to confirm your settings.

9. Outlook should now show up in “Passwords and Accounts.”


Outlook now appears in your accounts.

10. Now go back to your home screen and tap on your Mail app. You should see Outlook listed in your mailboxes.

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Apple Tops Phishing List, Microsoft Conspicuous By Its Absence

The “Cybersecurity in search” report from Redscan, published September 11, analyses Google trends through global search histories dating back to 2004. Amongst many surprising revelations to be found in this look at the most searched for people, businesses, scams and breaches in cybersecurity, is that Apple tops the list for phishing scams whereas Microsoft is conspicuous by its absence.

Phishing scams love the Apple brand

To dupe as many people as possible, social engineering scams leverage well-known brands. When it comes to the most searched for brands concerning phishing scams you might have imagined Microsoft would lead the way. However, according to the data for UK searches, at any rate, Apple tops this particular tree. Microsoft doesn’t even make the top five, with PayPal, HMRC, Amazon and NatWest bank filing in behind Apple.

“We can’t say for sure why so many people are searching for Apple phishing scams,” Andy Kays, technical director at Redscan says, “but Apple users are likely to be considered a high-value target for cybercriminals.” Kays also says that it should be noted phishing is often a numbers game and Apple has an estimated 1.4bn active Apple devices globally. “So it’s hardly a surprise these scams are so popular,” Kays says, “although we were surprised that searches for Microsoft or Outlook did not feature in the top five for the same reasons.”

Security researcher and Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) Scotland chapter leader, Sean Wright, says he isn’t surprised that Apple features highly in these searches as they are such a big business and well-known brand. “Attackers will operate as a business,” Wright says, “they will target victims who will provide the most value for them, with the least amount of effort.” When there were fewer users, in overall market share terms, of Apple devices there would have been less interest from the social engineers. That has changed, and the threat landscape has shifted with it, which doesn’t, of course, explain why Microsoft is less searched for in this context given the Windows user base and the press coverage of Windows threats that could be leveraged by the social engineer.

The decline of antivirus technology

Given the increase in awareness of cybersecurity in general, and the need to protect against threats in particular, it might come as a surprise to see that interest in the traditional antivirus (AV) vendors has tanked over the last 15 years if you use the Google search analysis as a metric. But this might not be as bad a trend as it first appears. “I think it’s a good thing that businesses are looking beyond prevention,” Kays says, “and researching more proactive monitoring solutions.” While AV remains a big part of the security industry overall, its share and influence do seem to be shrinking over time. “This reflects a different threat landscape in 2019,” Kays says, “but also the fact that consumer devices often come with better antivirus solutions by default, hence fewer people searching for third party options.”

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Apple Embarrassed By New MacBook Pro Flight Ban

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Apple is facing up to a growing problem with the batteries in its MacBook Pro machines. Battery problems in a number of 15-inch MacBook Pro machines triggered a recall earlier in the summer, but the last two weeks has seen the airline industry around the world react to the danger.

Today saw all MacBook Pro laptops banned from check-in luggage by Virgin Australia, and this ‘safety-first’ attitude to Apple’s self-inflicted problem is one that I expect to grow over the coming weeks.

Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi speaks during the keynote address during the 2019 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi speaks during the keynote address during the 2019 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


As discussed previously on Forbes, Apple’s battery issue affects a small number of 15-inch MacBook Pro machines that were released between September 2015 and February 2017 – estimates suggest around half a million MacBook Pros need to have their batteries replaced. That means a return to an Apple Store or an Authorised Repair Centre.

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In the meantime, flight regulators around the world (including the FAA in America and EASA in Europe) prohibit the transport by passengers of any recalled lithium ion battery either in checked luggage or carry on because of the fire risk they pose… a regulation that has been re-stressed by the FAA and EASA in the last two weeks.

The issue on how to determine if a MacBook Pro is two-fold. First someone must confirm if the laptop is covered by the recall, secondly they need to determine if the battery has been replaced. If the latter is true, then the laptop is cleared to fly, otherwise it is staying on the ground. In the short turnaround time of commercial flight, that’s not an easy task.

Virgin Australia has taken a look at the various issues and made the decision to ban all MacBook laptops (not just the stated 15-inch MacBook Pro machines) from checked-in luggage and demanded that any Apple laptop is to be in a passenger’s carry-on. The reasoning is simple – there’s not enough time to filter out the ‘bad’ MacBook Pro machines, and you want cabin crew to be able to react as quickly as possible to any ‘hot’ battery before it catches fire.

Virgin Australia MacBook warning (image: Virgin Australia Website)

Virgin Australia MacBook warning (image: Virgin Australia Website)

Virgin Australia Website

That means alerting every travelling member of the public to a simple message that there is an increased risk in a MacBook. No matter that the increased risk is very small, safety comes first for airlines.

Dealing with the fallout around “MacBook’s are dangerous” will be left to Apple’s famously proactive and agile PR team.

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