How to Disable your Computer’s Power Button

28 Apr ’08 — 4 Comments

Disabling your computer’s power button is very important if you have a little kid (or other animal) crawling around near the computer. I don’t mean, of course, disabling the button so that the computer cannot be turned on, but instead, disabling the button so that the computer won’t turn off when the kid pushes that big button, just as you are getting ready to finish that all-important paper, post, or project.Grace on the Printer

In Windows XP:

  • Go (click on) the Start Menu
  • Click on Settings and then on Control Panel (or just on Control Panel if that’s what you see)
  • In the Control Panel double-click on Power Options
  • The Power Options Properties window should open. Click on the Advanced tab.
  • You should see a section of the window called “Power buttons”. In that section, click the on the drop-down box underneath the text “When I press the power button on my computer” and/or “When I press the sleep button on my computer” and select the action called “Do nothing” or the action called “Ask me what to do” (your pick).

In Windows Vista:

  • Click on the Windows icon to open the Start Menu
  • Select the Control Panel
  • Open the option for Power Options (if you don’t see this, use the search box in the top-right corner)
  • You should see several power plans, one of which is selected. For that one, click on the associated link called Change plan settings
  • Next, click on the link for Change advanced power settings
  • You should see a whole list of various settings. In that list, click on the plus sign (+) next to Power buttons and lid and then also next to Power button action.
  • Click on the Setting drop-down box, which will likely say Shut Down, and change it to Do Nothing. Now you’re covered!

In Windows 7:

  • Click on the Windows icon to open the Start Menu
  • Select the Control Panel
  • Click on Hardware and Sound (if your options are organized by category; if not, click on Power Options
  • After that, click on Change what the power buttons do
  • Next to When I press the power button, choose Do nothing for both on battery and plugged in
  • Use the Save changes button and you’re done

Screenshot of the window to define power button settings

In Max OS X, pressing the power button should just bring up a prompt asking what you want to do.

Note that on all of the aforementioned operating systems, if someone presses the power button down and keeps the button depressed for 10+ seconds, that the computer will shut down. The only other way to guard against that is to put something over the power button, like a piece of paper. Do that and keep all of your cables secured where they cannot be reached and you should, and your kid, should be good to go.

4 responses to How to Disable your Computer’s Power Button

  1. Hello thanks love the guide but how do you reenable it?

  2. Really just following the steps given above (for Windows) in reverse ought to do the trick – so when you get to the part where you actually choose the option for “Do Nothing” when the power button is pressed, then change the setting to a different option, like “Prompt the User” or “Turn off the Computer”. Does that not cover it for ya?

  3. Thank you so much!!! My son had figures out the contraption we had built to block the power button, so we were desperate for anything. This is wonderful, thanks again!!!

    • Glad it helped! 🙂

      I think the only other full proof thing to do—when there’s little kids involved—is to put the computer up on a high shelf. That’s also worked well for me.

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