Simple questions: What is the WinX menu and how to open it?

The WinX menu is a relatively new concept in Windows. It also does not have an official name. Some people call it the WinX menu, others the Power User menu. It was first introduced in Windows 8, and ever since, it has evolved to include new options and new looks. Here is how to open the WinX menu, how to use it, and how to personalize it:

What is the WinX menu from Windows?

The WinX menu is called this way by many websites because Microsoft did not give it an official name. Others have named it the Power User menu. Today, almost everyone is using its default keyboard shortcut to name it: Windows + X. If you are using Windows 8, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, press these keys and see what happens.

In Windows 10, it includes the following shortcuts:

  • Apps and Features - Opens the window with the same name, where you can change, repair and uninstall installed Windows apps.
  • Power Options - Opens the Power & Sleep window where you can change when your Windows computer or device goes to sleep, when the screen is turned off, and so on.
  • Event Viewer - Opens the Event Viewer. You can learn more about this tool and how it works, from this guide: The Basics About Working with the Event Viewer in Windows.
  • System - Opens the About window where you can find information about your Windows computer or device, such as its processor, installed RAM, Windows edition, and more.
  • Device Manager - Opens the Device Manager. You can learn more about this tool and how it works, from this guide: 7 things you can do with the Device Manager from Windows.
  • Network Connections - Opens a window where you can see your network status and change network settings and adapters.
  • Disk Management - Opens the Disk Management tool. You can learn how to use it from this tutorial: How to Manage Partitions with the Disk Management Tool, in Windows.
  • Windows PowerShell - Opens PowerShell with limited permissions.
  • Windows PowerShell (Admin) - Opens the PowerShell with administrative permissions.
  • Task Manager - Opens the Task Manager, so that you can manage running apps and processes. You can learn more about this tool from this tutorial: View running processes with the Task Manager and kill those that hog resources
  • Settings - Opens the Settings app where you can configure in detail how Windows works.
  • File Explorer - Opens File Explorer, so that you can access and manage your files and folders.
  • Search - Opens a Search window that you can use to find stuff on your PC or the web.
  • Run - Opens the Run window, where you can execute Windows commands and files.
  • Shut down or sign out - Opens a menu with the following options: shut down, restart, sleep and sign out. Accessing this menu is also one of the fastest ways to shut down Windows.
  • Desktop - Takes you to the desktop. This is not exactly useful since, in most cases, you access the WinX menu from the desktop.

On tablets and laptops, the WinX menu can also include a shortcut to the Mobility Center.

How to open and use the WinX menu in Windows

The easiest way to access the WinX menu is to press the keys Windows+X on your keyboard. This works in all three versions of Windows where this menu is included: Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and 8.

If you are using a mouse, you can also right-click on the Start button, for the same effect.

On a tablet, press and hold the Start button to display the WinX menu.

How to personalize the WinX menu in Windows

You can customize the WinX menu from Windows (but you have limited options), or by using a third-party app for this task. For example, you can change the PowerShell shortcuts with the Command Prompt. For more on this subject, read this tutorial: Add the Control Panel and the Command Prompt to the WinX menu, in Windows 10.

You can also add or remove any shortcut, create new groups and shortcuts, using a free app named Win+X Menu Editor. To learn how to use it, read this tutorial: All the ways to customize the WinX menu in Windows 10 (and Windows 8.1).

The evolution of the WinX menu

The WinX menu has evolved since its introduction in Windows 8. As you can see in the screenshot below, in this operating system, the menu included just 15 shortcuts that were useful mostly to power users and IT professionals.

In Windows 8.1, it has 20 shortcuts, including easy ways to shutdown or restart your computer.

In the early builds of Windows 10, this menu remained the same as in Windows 8.1.

In subsequent updates to Windows 10, the menu has evolved to include 20 shortcuts (some of them different from Windows 8.1), as well as a completely different look:

We are curious to see how this menu will keep evolving in the future.

Is the WinX menu useful to you?

Now you know what the WinX menu is, how it works, how to access it and its evolution in the different versions of Windows. Do not hesitate to try it out and let us know how well it works. Do you use it on a regular basis? Do you find it useful? Comment below and let's discuss.