Posted on: November 21, 2008 Posted by: Nicole Harding Comments: 0

Having a slow shutdown time is one of the most often overlooked problem with computers. A lot of people may be well aware the time it takes to completely boot a computer, but not with the shutdown time.

The Shutdown Problem

Have you ever tried shutting down your computer, only having to see your computer hang or even end up rebooting. Even though they are often overlooked, shutdown problems are some of the most common computer problems a user can experience.

Obviously, shutdown is the opposite of startup. When a computer starts, it loads all the needed services and programs into the memory. When you shutdown your computer, all of those programs that were launched at startup, as well as the other software that you used, are closed.

You can’t simply turn your computer off like a light bulb. A computer’s operating system is not just one piece of software; it is composed of a lot of software and services that have to be individually shut down (If you want to remove your Windows OS, see how to get rid of windows operating system). Unlike starting up, shutting down software may take some time, especially when it is still active or “doing something”.

Common Causes of Long Shutdown Times

  • Hardware incompatibilities. When a device you have in your computer is not fully compatible with the operating system, many things may happen, including shutdown delay or hangs. If you have just installed a new device into your computer and you suddenly have slow shutdown times, then this might be the cause. You can fix this by either updating the device driver or by removing the device.
  • System too busy. When there one or more software programs still running, they may be consuming system resources. In most cases, the shutdown procedure waits for the program to stop what it’s doing before it proceeds with terminating it.
  • Too many software applications or services running. As previously stated, shutting down your computer involves the task of closing every piece of software and service that is running. If there are quite a number of processes running, then it will take some time before every one of them is terminated.
  • Software conflicts. There are some software programs that are known to cause the system to hang or take a long time to shut down. This software should either be updated or replaced with newer versions because of bugs that cause the long shutdown time.
  • Malware (viruses, trojans, etc.). Malicious software can also be a cause. Some completely disable shutting down or restarting, some simply slow it down. Using security software usually solves the problem. (Tips on how to get rid of malware)

Rebooting: A Common Shutdown Problem

If you often experience long shutdown times, you have probably experienced the computer rebooting instead of a complete shutdown.

When that happens, that is a clue that your computer has experienced a critical error and automatically rebooted itself. This is the default action in Windows XP. The critical error may be caused by a corrupted file, an incompatible piece of hardware or driver, or even malware.

You can disable that automatic reboot by right-clicking My Computer and selecting properties. Go to the Advanced tab and click the Settings button under Startup and Recovery, then uncheck the Automatically Restart box.

Speeding Up Shutdown Time

Speeding up shutdown time is quite easy. The first thing you should do is try to pinpoint the cause of the slow shutdown time.

If you have just installed a new device, then that could be the culprit. Start by checking the website of the manufacturer for newer drivers or software for your computer. Install it and reboot. After that, try to shutdown your computer again. If it goes back to normal, then your problem is solved.

Disabling services that you don’t use can also speed up not only your shutdown time but your start-up time as well. To do that, click on Start > Run > then type “services.msc”. Before you shutdown the services, make sure you really don’t need them. There are descriptions of their purposes.

Limiting the number of startup applications will also speed up the shutdown process. You should also close every program before you initiate shut down on your computer. Closing all the applications you have open will save time instead of the system doing it for you.

Other Tricks to Speedup Shutdown Time

If you still want a faster shutdown time, you can try the following tips:

  • Forced Shutdown. The normal shutdown of Windows closes all services and applications that are running. If the application does not respond (hang), it will wait for a few seconds before it decides to forcefully terminate the unresponsive software. However, you can use this command to force shutdown all applications. Click on Start > Run > type “C:WindowsSystem32shutdown.exe -f”. Instead of you typing that command every time you want to shut down, you can create a shortcut to that command.
  • Disabling the Deletion of the Paging File. Every time you shut down your computer, Windows clears the paging file, a huge file containing data, from your computer. That process may take a long time to complete. However, disabling it may risk your privacy since users can snoop into the paging file and read sensitive information like passwords and other details.

But if you are sure your computer is secure, you can use this trick. Here is how to do it: Click on Start > Run > type “gpedit.msc”

At the right side, look for security options then double-click the “Shutdown: Clear Virtual Memory Pagefile” option and make sure it is disabled.

Now you know how to speed up the shutdown process of your computer. Of course, there are limits on how fast your computer can shutdown. With a little tweaking and some patience, you will notice that your computer shuts down faster than it used to.

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