Use Windows Like a Pro With the Power User Menu

Everything you can do with the Power User Menu in Windows 10 and 8

Screenshot of the Power User Menu in Windows 10
Power User Menu (Windows 10).

The Power User Menu is available by default (you don't have to download it) in Windows 10 and Windows 8 as a pop-up menu with shortcuts to management, configuration, and other "power user" Windows tools.

The Power User Menu is often also referred to as the Windows Tools Menu, Power User Task Menu, Power User Hotkey, WinX Menu, or the WIN+X Menu.

Note: "Power Users" is also the name of a group that users can be a part of in Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Server 2003. It gives the user more permissions than a regular user but not quite administrative privileges. It was removed in Windows Vista and newer Windows operating systems due to the introduction of User Account Control.

How to Open the WIN+X Menu

You can bring up the Power User Menu with your keyboard by pressing the WIN (Windows) key and the X key together.

With a mouse, you can show the Power User Menu by right-clicking on the Start button.

On a touch-only interface, you can activate the Power User Menu by a press-and-hold action on the Start button or a whatever right-click action is available with a stylus.

Prior to the Windows 8.1 update to Windows 8, bringing up the Power User Menu was only possible using the already mentioned keyboard shortcut, as well as right-clicking in the bottom-leftmost corner of the screen.

What's on the Power User Menu?

By default, the Power User Menu in Windows 10 and Windows 8 includes shortcuts to the following tools:

Power User Menu Hotkeys

Each Power User Menu shortcut has its own quick access key, or hotkey that when pressed, opens that particular shortcut without needing to click or tap it. The shortcut key is identified next to the corresponding item above.

With the Power User Menu already open, just hit one of those keys to immediately open that shortcut.

For the Shut down or sign out option, you have to first press "U" to open the submenu, and then "I" to sign out, "S" to sleep, "U" to shut down, or "R" to restart.

How to Customize the WIN+X Menu

The Power User Menu can be customized by rearranging or removing shortcuts within the various Group folders contained within the C:\Users\[USERNAME]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\WinX directory.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE is the hive in the Windows Registry where you'll find the registry keys associated with the Power User Menu shortcuts. The exact location is HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ShellCompatibility\InboxApp.

However, one of the easiest ways to remove, reorder, rename, or add items to Power User Menu, is to use a graphical program that can do it for you.

One example is Win+X Menu Editor, which lets you add your own programs to the menu as well as Control Panel shortcuts, Administrative Tools items, and other shutdown options like hibernation and switch user. It's also just a click away to restore all the defaults and get the regular Power User Menu back.

Hashlnk is another Power User Menu editor that you can download to make changes to the menu. However, it's a command line utility that isn't nearly as easy or quick to use as Win+X Menu Editor. You can learn how to use Hashlnk from The Windows Club.

Windows 7 Power User Menu?

Only Windows 10 and Windows 8 have access to Power User Menu, but third-party programs like WinPlusX can put a menu that looks like Power User Menu, on your Windows 7 computer. This particular program even lets the menu open with the same WIN+X keyboard shortcut.

WinPlusX defaults to having several of the same shortcuts as the ones listed above for Windows 10/8, like Device Manager, Command Prompt, Windows Explorer, Run, and Event Viewer, but also Registry Editor and Notepad. Like Win+X Menu Editor and HashLnk, WinPlusX lets you add your own menu options as well.

[1] Mobility Center is usually available only when Windows 10 or Windows 8 is installed on traditional laptop or netbook computers.

[2] These shortcuts are only available in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

[3] In Windows 8.1 and later, the Command Prompt and Command Prompt (Admin) shortcuts can be optionally changed to Windows PowerShell and Windows PowerShell (Admin), respectively. See How to Switch Command Prompt & PowerShell on the WIN+X Menu for instructions.