Windows 10 - how to sign out

It’s the end of the day. You’ve finished your work and you’re packing up. You can walk away as soon as you log off of the computer, which is running that new-fangled Windows 10 that’s all the rage in tech circles.

Here’s a picture of the new Windows 10 Start menu on my computer. How do you sign out?


Okay, I’ll give you a clue: the answer is right in front of you. There’s no secret sliding panel on the right, like the Charms Bar where Microsoft concealed the power button when Windows 8 was first released. Actually, there is a secret sliding panel in Windows 10 (now it’s called the “Notification Center) but that’s not where you go to log off.

You know the answer! You grab the mouse and click confidently on “Power.” Of course!


Hmm. That’s unexpected. No option to sign out.

Go ahead, click on a few more things. Right-click on the Start button, click on All apps and Settings, look around the rest of the screen. I’ll wait.

Ready for the trick?

Click on your name at the top of the Start menu.

Windows 10 - sign out from top of Start menu

I bet you didn’t see that coming! It’s obvious, once you know the trick.

There’s actually a bigger point to make here. Microsoft and Apple and Google have given up on the pretense of making anything intuitive. It’s impossible. Our apps are too complicated, our screens are too small, and each of us has a different idea of what’s important. Every single app on your phone has some move that you don’t know about, a swipe or a press or a setting or a menu that might amaze you if you found it. The only way to figure out anything today is by accident, or by reading a review, or by having someone show you something new.

In that spirit, let me give you a pro Windows tip. There are literally hundreds of keyboard shortcuts but our brains are small. This one is worth remembering. To lock your Windows computer, hold the Windows key down and hit the letter “L”. The Windows key is in the lower left of the keyboard, next to the space bar. With one click you can lock the computer: all your programs are running undisturbed but the computer can’t be used with logging in with a password. Cool, eh?

And with that, we’re just about ready to sign out of 2015. One more article and we’ll wrap it up for the year. Get those last minute Amazon orders in!

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