3 Ways to Shut Down/Power Off your Ubuntu system

When working with Ubuntu, you may have noticed that there is not just one, but several ways to complete a task, allowing users to choose one depending on their preference. Shutting down your system is also one such process that can be done in several ways; these include using the command line or Ubuntu’s graphical user interface.

In this article, we will describe three ways that a user can use to shut down or power off their Ubuntu system:

  • Via the user interface
  • Via the application launcher search bar
  • Via the Ubuntu command line, the terminal.

We have run the commands and procedures mentioned in this article on an Ubuntu 20.04 LTS system.

Method 1: Power Off using the UI

One of the simple ways to shut down your Ubuntu system is to use the menu accessible through the downward arrow located at the top right corner of your Ubuntu screen. This is the menu you will see when you click this arrow:

Shutdown Ubuntu by using the UI

Click on the Power Off button located in the bottom right corner of this drop-down menu. The following dialog will display when you do so:

Power Off

Through this dialog, you can do the following things:

  • Cancel the power off process
  • Restart your system
  • Power Off the system

If you do not press any of the buttons, the system will automatically shut down after 60 seconds. The dialog even shows a countdown, by the delay of 10 seconds, after which your system will be powered off.

Method 2: Power Off Using the Application Launcher Search

Another quick method to shut down your system is to use the very useful, application launcher search bar. This bar can be accessed by hitting the Super/Windows key on your keyboard.

Enter the keywords “power off” in this search bar and you will see the Power Off utility in the search result as follows:

Using Power Off Application Launcher

Click on the Power Off search result and you will be presented the same Power Off dialog, through which you can power off your system, restart it, or even cancel the shutdown process altogether.

Method 3: Power Off Using the Terminal

For a Terminal-savvy person, the Ubuntu command line also provides a way to shut down your Ubuntu system.

Open the Ubuntu command line, the Terminal, either through the application launcher search or the Ctrl+Alt+T shortcut.

Then enter the following command in order to power off the system:

$ shutdown

Ubuntu shutdown command

As you can see in the above output, the shutdown command when used as described above will not power off the system right away. It will give the user some time, usually 1 minute, to save the important things they are working on.

There is, however, a way to shut down the system without any delay and prompt. This command requires sudo privileges as such an abrupt shutdown may harm the system. Here is the command that you can use:

$ sudo shutdown -P now

Shutdown system immediately

The shutdown command also lets you schedule powering off your system. You can do this by the following command:

$ shutdown +t

Where t is the time, in minutes, after which your system will be automatically powered off.


$ shutdown +5

Schedules shutdown of Ubuntu system

If you want to cancel this scheduled shutdown, run the following command in your Terminal:

$ shutdown -c

So, these were 3 ways to shut down your Ubuntu system. Unfortunately, there is no default keyboard shortcut for shutting down Ubuntu. We will explain a way to create a custom shortcut for this purpose in another article.