Windows Doesn’t Shut Down
By Stephen Bucaro
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
\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.