Shutting down a Windows computer seems simple at first glance, but it’s actually a complex process that can cause certain problems in some situations.
Windows must shut down system processes, save data, and purge unwanted information from memory. The shutdown process usually takes a few seconds, but the first sign that something is wrong is when the shutdown takes much longer than usual, or when it cannot be completed at all.
Below is a list of some of the possible problems related to turning off the computer on Windows 10 and Windows 11 and their solutions.
Check if it’s a software issue
Programs are a common cause of computer shutdown problems on Windows. If turning off your system does not result in a notification on the screen “Shutting down…“, but stops at the notification “Programs need to close“, it’s probably a software problem that slows down the whole process.
In the regular process of shutting down the computer, Windows will show a list of programs that are in the closing phase. Most of the time, the same programs will be turned off automatically, but sometimes the process will not be carried out until the end because a certain program is still open and saving data.
In this case, postpone the shutdown process by clicking on the “Cancel” and make sure that all the data of the currently open programs is saved. Don’t forget to save your changes before shutting down and that should speed up the shutdown.
It should also be said that the solution to the mentioned problem is not always this simple. Sometimes the list of programs to close does not appear at all or appears briefly and then disappears, but something will still prevent Windows from closing. In this case, postpone turning off the computer, open it Task Manager (Task manager) and check which programs are still open and their statuses and memory usage information. U Task Manager you can also turn off such programs manually.
In case the situation through Task Manager can’t fix, it’s possible that the software that’s causing the problems needs to be reinstalled, updated, or patched to fix the problems.
Check for power issues
Windows that take a long time to shut down may have power-related problems. Before you start changing the power settings yourself, use the troubleshooting tool, i.e. Windows Troubleshooter.
The procedure is as follows:
- Go to the “Settings” application
- Click on “Update & Security” and select “Troubleshoot” from the menu on the left
- In case the system does not already suggest a troubleshooter, click on “Additional troubleshooters” and select “Power” from the list.
Check for process issues
When Windows shuts down, it closes a certain number of system processes and adjusts data so that the system can boot smoothly the next time. If there is a similar problem with the execution of system processes, Windows will most often not provide any information when closing.
In order to get more detailed information about these processes, edit the settings inside Group Policy on the next way:
- Type “gpedit” in the Windows search bar and select “Run as administrator”
- On the left side, select the “Computer configuration” option, then select “Administrative templates” and finally “System”
- On the right side of the new window, scroll to the “Display highly detailed status messages” option and click on it
- Select “Enabled”, click “Apply” and then “Ok”.
After this change of settings, you will see information about all the processes taking place during the computer shutdown process. That way, you will be able to identify potential problems later. It is important to note how Group Policy Editor the feature in Windows 10 and Windows 11 is not enabled in all editions. In Windows 10, for example, Group Policy Editor settings are not available on Windows 10 Home editions, but code Windows 10 Pro i Windows 10 Enterprise edition.
Check for Windows updates
It often happens that failure to implement new Windows updates results in problems when shutting down the computer. In these situations, it may happen that drivers stop working, and sometimes bugs can stop the whole process.
Within “Settings” applications under the menu “Update & security” check the status of your updates and make sure you have a notification “You’re up to date“.
Disable Fast Startup
Fast Startup feature has the function of speeding up Windows boot time. It preloads part of the information related to the boot process before turning off the computer. Although this feature saves time the next time you turn on your computer, it can easily have the opposite effect and slow down the shutdown process.
To disable Fast Startup features, follow these instructions:
- Open the Control Panel
- Using the “View by” menu in the upper right corner, click on “Large icons” or “Small icons”
- Click on “Power options”
- On the left side of the window, click on “Choose what the power buttons do”
- U Next select the option „Change settings that are currently unavailable“
- Under the “Shutdown settings” option, disable “Turn on fast startup”.
Check the possibility of a Page File problem
Windows has a feature called Page File and it works as a kind of extension of your working memory. If your system needs more memory than is allowed, the least used parts of the data stored in the working memory are moved to the hard disk in the so-called page file so that in the end the most important data remains preserved.
Sometimes it’s cleaning Page File features enabled when shutting down the computer for security reasons. Cleaning these files can take a long time, so it can happen that this is the reason for the lengthy shutdown process.
Checking the Page File feature is done in Registry Editor through the folder “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE” and then by going to the “System” folder. Below, you need to click on the following options CurrentControlSet > Control > Session Manager to get to the folder “Memory Management“. It is necessary to make changes within the item “ClearPageFileAtShutdown” where the value must be changed to ““.
Scan the disk
In case of some difficulties when turning off the computer, the HDD or SSD disks may be the problem. A disk that is malfunctioning or contains corrupt files can cause a situation where it is not possible to turn off the computer at all.
To check the status of the disk or disks, you must go to the “My PC“, right-click on the disk and select “Properties“. Below under “Tools“tab and section”Error checking” click on button “Check” and below on “Scan drive“.
In this way, you will check the state of the disk and get information if there is a certain error in its operation that potentially affects the shutdown of the computer.
Checking the “WaitToKillServiceTimeout” value
When you initiate a shutdown of your computer, Windows sends a notification to all open applications and services. Windows then closes all running applications and services by default.
How long this procedure takes depends onWaitToKillServiceTimeout“ value and it can sometimes take longer than expected to turn off the computer.
Changing the value can be done within Registry Editor. Under the folder “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE” folder will open „System“. After that, everything needs to be expanded to the folder “CurrentControlSet” and click on “Control“. Below must open “WaitToKillServiceTimeout” option and set its value to 5000which is actually a 5-second interval that Windows waits before closing open applications and services.
There is a possibility that your initial value will be 10000 (10 seconds), so you can change it if you judge that it is too much time, but do not go below 5000 in order to avoid problems with closing the program before shutting down.
Written by: Ervin Mičetić