I need some Windows 2012 servers to be shutdown properly with the power button.

  • If nobody is logged, the power button correctly shuts down the server
  • If somebody is logged without a blocking program, it's okay too


  • if a session is locked, the power button does nothing
  • if somebody is logged with a blocking program (notepad with an unsaved document for example), the button does nothing too

With previous Windows versions I was used to configure the power button behaviour with the GUI and modify a registry key (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\policies\system\shutdownwithoutlogon) but this seems not any more relevant.

Does anyone knows the "offical" way, or a trick ?

The system log display an event each time I press the power button. The kernel power manager has initiated a shutdown transition with event ID 109.
When the session is locked, this event is followed by nothing. And no other events in other logs.
When a program refuse to close, I have the corresponding log entry, so this will be okay soon.

  • 2
    Show those damn smart switches who's really smart: yank the F^&%#ing power cord out of the wall! Sep 4 '13 at 23:19

The fact you can't power down a 2012 server when a session is locked is probably by design. I faced a similar need and don't know any policy or registry change to allow that.

I used a simple trick: I captured the power button event which simply run my favorite shutdown.exe with the desired parameters after a timeout.
If you use the correct shutdown parameters, you won't be blocked by open programs.

To capture events, just open the task scheduler and create a task triggered on the desired event ID.

  • 3
    For reference, the command I use is: shutdown /s /t 10 /d p:0:0 Sep 6 '13 at 20:30
  • 4
    Also for reference the event in my case is a basic event with these properties Log: System, Source: Kernel-Power, Event-ID: 109
    – ndemou
    Jun 30 '15 at 16:28

Check out AutoEndTasks:

You can set it for all users by creating the key here vs HKCU: HKEY_USERS.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop

Additionally, there is some tuning that can be done via group policy that can be found here: Computer Configuration>Administrative Templates>System>Shutdown Options> Turn off automatic termination of applications that block or cancel shutdown

Additional tuning options that you may want to look into are: WaitToKillServiceTimeout,WaitToKillAppTimeout,HungAppTimeOut

I'll also second what MarcoZink stated, check your Bios and verify there isn't any special setting configured for your power button that may be holding things up.

  • 1
    I would not second what MarcoZink stated about the BIOS because the question clearly states "If nobody is logged, the power button correctly shuts down the server"
    – ndemou
    Jul 10 '15 at 8:22

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