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I have a computer that has suddenly started to take a lot more time to shut down. Even ending with a bluescreen some times (think its some driver issues with Windows 7 or something...). Anyways, it made me wonder: What is windows really doing when you click the shut down button? What are common reasons for it to take longer than usual? Is there a way I can get windows to show me what it is doing while shutting down?

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closed as off topic by Kara Marfia Jun 8 '09 at 12:48

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I remember the good old days when you had to "park" your harddrive heads at the outer sector of the disk. I don't recall what this achieved but you had to type PARK at the DOS prompt before turning the machine off. Not relevant, but after my Windows server just took 25 minutes to shut down, I feel your pain. – Mark Henderson Jun 8 '09 at 7:41
haha. showing ur age Farseeker – cottsak Jun 8 '09 at 8:24
yeah, my desktop used something like amount of time as well, and then ended it all with a bluescreen... weee :p – Svish Jun 8 '09 at 9:09
actually I haven't had a successfull shutdown in a while... when it does not end with a blue screen, it automatically restarts instead of shutting down... will reinstall my os soon :p – Svish Jun 8 '09 at 9:11
how is figuring out why computers won't shut down not sysadmin related? =/ – Svish Jun 8 '09 at 18:57

A few things that happen during shutdown may cause slowness: data is written from cache to disk, the user profile is unloaded, services are stopped and (optionally) the page file may be cleared.

Of these, I don't think the page file being cleared would cause blue screens, and I definitely don't think that data being written from cache to disk could slow things down except in extreme or unlikely situations.

Sometimes a badly written service will refuse to stop properly, and in the case of the user profile not unloading properly, something somewhere is maintaining locks on it, possibly AV software or some other third party software.

Suggested troubleshooting tips, in addition to the above, would include shutting down immediately after a boot (i.e. without logging on) to see if the process is any faster, logging off instead of shutting down to see if there are delays there, and selectively disabling services (but be careful here) to see if anything non-standard is to blame.

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Good advice. Will try that when I got the time to look into things further :) – Svish Jun 8 '09 at 11:32

Checkout the User Profile Hive Cleanup service which can sometimes resolve slow logouts (and thus shutdowns).

You'll also want to enable extended logout messages so you can see which part is actually hanging.

This appears to work for Windows 7.

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That extended logout messages is for Windows 2000 and it is a link to a Windows Server 2003 family. Will one of them work for Vista and Seven as well? – Svish Jun 8 '09 at 11:31
Ooops sorry, accidentally linked to the Windows 2000 article, meant to link to the more recent one. (Just changed). Check this out for Windows 7:… – Adam Gibbins Jun 8 '09 at 11:56

This might be interesting.

Also check out these links:

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What's the point in making such a superfluous comment ? This ain't a chat. – Berzemus Jun 8 '09 at 8:30
Just trying to be of help... The link is relevant to the question isn't it (troubleshooting windows shutdown)? – fretje Jun 8 '09 at 8:50
My mistake, didn't see the link under "This". The blue for unvisited links is a bit too dark in here ^-^. – Berzemus Jun 8 '09 at 9:54

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