It seems like a simple thing to find the answer too. But, I can't seem to find it in the Hyper-V doc. I'm sure it's there somewhere.

Simple question, when I am in Hyper-V manager there are two options that seem similar but I am sure they are different. "Turn Off..." and "Shut Down..." What do they each do?

My gut tells me that "Turn Off..." is like pulling the plug on a physical machine where as "Shut Down..." sends a shut down message to the guest. Is that correct?

In both cases is the VM no longer running and using memory and CPU resources on the host.

3 Answers 3


you are correct in what your gut tells you.

  • +1, the question pretty much contains the answer. Commented Sep 30, 2009 at 14:16
  • Thanks for the verification. I did later find this information in the Hyper-V self-service portal help: # Stop—This has the same effect as turning off the power source on a physical machine. # Shut Down—This has the same effect as shutting down the operating system on a physical machine. The virtual machine attempts an orderly closing of all programs and attempts to shut off power to avoid data loss. This requires Virtual Guest Services to be installed on the operating system of the virtual machine.
    – PilotBob
    Commented Sep 30, 2009 at 14:52
  • You know, I wish it asked really when I clicked turn off. I am great at clicking that instead of shut down. - Then I figured out what to search for and found that it did and I disabled that, and I could put it back - superuser.com/questions/833618/… Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 22:03
  • @KarlHenselin, ideally, they should've removed the ellipsis ('...') at the end of menu item in case there is no confirmation. Even if it's the user who disabled the confirmation. He can just forget about it. The user usually expects some additional actions (including confirmation) when he sees an ellipsis. Moreover, this expectation is in accordance with The Microsoft UX Guidelines.
    – Alex Che
    Commented Oct 16, 2020 at 20:52

Not quite, at least in concept:

< PULLING THE PLUG > The 'worst' you could do in terms of control, i.e. no control.

< TURN OFF > Should have a circuit which takes care of the hardware components, i.e. makes sure that various components are properly turned off. = take care of hardware stuff -> < TURN OFF >.

< SHUTDOWN > = take care of software/OS stuff (e.g. save files) -> < TURN OFF >.


Have a look at this blog post from the virtual pc guy: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/virtual_pc_guy/archive/2011/01/10/turning-off-a-virtual-machine.aspx

When you select to “turn off” a virtual machine – you are actually getting an “old school” “cut the power” kind of turn off.

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