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Windows Doesn’t Shut Down

I have always believed Windows should startup and shutdown like turning a light switch on and off. Instead it sits there churning away loading unnecessary software and performing unnecessary checks every time it starts or shuts down. And now, instead of shutting down, Windows XP may reboot.

To hide the fact that it crashes frequently, in response to a system failure, Windows XP executes an automatic restart. You probably won't even notice that your PC crashed and you lost all your work if Windows restarts automatically. What were they thinking?

Not only does an automatic restart NOT hide the fact that Windows crashed, but it makes it difficult to isolate the cause of the system failure. So the first thing we need to do is disable Windows "restart on system failure" feature.

Select Start | Control Panel to open the Control Panel. In the Control Panel select Performance and Maintenance | System to open the System Properties dialog box. In the System Properties dialog box, select the [Advanced] tab and in the Startup and Recovery section, click on the [Settings] button. In the <>Startup and Recovery dialog box that appears, in the System Failure section, uncheck the box next to "Automatically restart". Then click on the [OK] button.

In this article I'll explain some of the possible causes for Windows to fail to shut down, how to diagnose the problem, and how to fix it. Below is a list of possible causes that will be covered in this article.

A Virus or Spyware is Preventing Shutdown
A Software Application is Preventing Shutdown
A program Loaded at Startup is Preventing Shutdown
A Hardware Device is Preventing Shutdown
A "wake on" Setting is Preventing Shutdown
A Universal Serial Bus (USB) Device is Preventing Shutdown
Advanced Power Management (APM) is Preventing Shutdown
Plug-and-Play (PnP) is Preventing Shutdown
Windows Hangs on "Saving Your Settings" Message
Windows Hangs on "It's Now Safe To Turn Off Your Computer" Message

A Virus or Spyware is Preventing Shutdown

A Virus or spyware application may preventing your computer from shutting down while it attempts to use your internet connection to communicate the personal information that it gathered from your computer to it's creator.

In today’s hostile Internet environment, when you have a computer problem, always assume first that it could be caused by a virus or spyware. Scan your system for viruses and spyware. If you don't have a virus scanner, you can use an online virus scanner at Trend Micro's Free online virus Scanner.

A Software Application is Preventing Shutdown

A software application may prevent Windows from shutting down. This usually occurs the first time you try shutting down Windows after installing a new software application, but can also occur if a shared module changes or has been corrupted. Check each software manufacturers website and download the latest patches. You may need to uninstall software applications one at a time to determine which one may be preventing shutdown.

A program Loaded at Startup is Preventing Shutdown

A program run by Windows When it starts may prevent Windows from shutting down. There are several places where programs can be configured to run when Windows starts. The most obvious one is the Startup folder
\Documents and Settings\[username]\Start Menu\Startup.

This folder contains shortcuts for programs you wish to load every time windows starts. Remove shortcuts for unwanted programs. If you're not sure what program a shortcut is associated with, right-click on the shortcut's name and select Properties in the popup menu. Select the Shortcut tab to find the shortcut's target.

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