Computer Won’t Shut Down? Try This

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I get a lot of “Ask the Geek” emails from people whose computers won’t shut down properly, either hanging up or rebooting endlessly. (Sometimes, nothing at all happens and you have to press and hold the power button.) Rather than trying to answer each question, I figure it’s time I made this tip available to everyone and posted it here. You see, trying to diagnose what may be causing shutdown problems is difficult without my being at the machine. There’s a Microsoft article, “Resources to help troubleshoot shutdown problems in Windows XP,” that describes the process. Not simple.

But, there is a simple way to force your computer to shut down that often works like magic. It’s a command built into Windows XP called, appropriately, “shutdown.exe.” Just click Start–>Run and type “shutdown -f -s -t 0” (without the quotes – the last character is a zero) and hit Enter. Your PC will shutdown immediately.

I am working on a step-by-step article, complete with screen shots, that explains how to make a custom shutdown button using the shutdown.exe command. I also plan to record a short video with commentary. I’ll let you know when these are done and how you can get them.

Cheers!
The Geek

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9 Responses

  1. Andreas Lian says:

    although I am happy to finally have found a temporary solution to my problem, I cant stop thinking if there is a better way of doing this, and a more temporary solution that will solve my problem for good.

    my problem in detail is that my computer wont shut down using the “turn off computer” button in the start menu, and when I try to shut it down using the power button (the physical button) it stays of for a minute, and the it turn itself on again. BTW the button is set to shut down in “power options” in control panel.

    this solution solved my problem though. (although its just temporary)

  2. evan owen says:

    “But, there is a simple way to force your computer to shut down that often works like magic. It’s a command built into Windows XP called, appropriately, “shutdown.exe.” Just click Start–>Run and type “shutdown -f -s -t 0? (without the quotes – the last character is a zero) and hit Enter. Your PC will shutdown immediately.”

    oh thank you so much for providing this information. i am “computer illiterate” and my boyfriend was gone for the day. you helped end my problem and my tension headache… 🙂

    evangeline

  3. Ryan says:

    useing win7 wont shutdown down properly heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelp!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! plz

  4. Dane says:

    Using Windows 7, my computer’s not shutting down properly. It’s like the plug and play function has been corrupted or something.

  5. Londonjack says:

    Why not just use the POWER OFF button, rather than type in that string to shut down??? Especially if, as you say elsewhere, powering OFF doesn’t hurt anything….?

    I assume you are going to publish a MACRO to use for shutting down – such as (for example) ALT + F– right?
    I love macros, but they’re hard to remember.

    • The Geek says:

      Good point. Using the shutdown button in some cases CAN cause problems with unwritten data in the write cache, but it’s mostly harmless in Windows XP and later versions. No. No macro. It’s a simple enough command and you can just make it into a shutdown button with a shortcut as I’ve also detailed elsewhere.

      • Brahna Cicero says:

        Thank you. Just knowing I am not the only one helps a lot. I’ll try to do what you suggested.
        Wish me luck.
        Brahna in Sacramento.

  6. Don St.Clair says:

    what do I do if I don’t have NVidia and can’t disable it??

  7. Molly says:

    Hi. I’m sorry that doesn’t work at all for a Medion windows 7. Any other suggestions? Something to run to look for software conflicts maybe. Thank. Cheers. 🙂

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