Windows Shutdown Doesn't Finish

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Julian writes, For no apparent reason that I can see, my computer will no longer shut down; it re-boots OK. I have scanned for viruses and malware with several scanners and am clean. I have also done disk cleanup and defragged. I am baffled. When trying to shut down it logs off OK, gets to the "Closing Windows" screen and after about 30 seconds of HDD activity I can hear the HDD’s park themselves but nothing else happens. No power off. At this point if I manually turn the power off, the computer boots properly next start.

There are lots of potential causes for Windows failing to shutdown completely. With all the various background tasks designed to quick launch apps like anti-virus, office suites, photo editors and music apps, it's quite common for something to stick during shutdown. When your computer fails to complete its shutdown sequence the problem commonly lies with some application on the system leaving a process open causing the shutdown sequence to be interrupted. There's no magic bullet prevent this from never happening, but you can take steps to help solve the problem.

Julian writes, For no apparent reason that I can see, my computer will no longer shut down; it re-boots OK. I have scanned for viruses and malware with several scanners and am clean. I have also done disk cleanup and defragged. I am baffled. When trying to shut down it logs off OK, gets to the "Closing Windows" screen and after about 30 seconds of HDD activity I can hear the HDD’s park themselves but nothing else happens. No power off. At this point if I manually turn the power off, the computer boots properly next start.

There are lots of potential causes for Windows failing to shutdown completely. With all the various background tasks designed to quick launch apps like anti-virus, office suites, photo editors and music apps, it's quite common for something to stick during shutdown. When your computer fails to complete its shutdown sequence the problem commonly lies with some application on the system leaving a process open causing the shutdown sequence to be interuppted. There's no magic bullet prevent this from never happening, but you can take steps to help solve the problem.

One of the best ways to isolate shutdown problems on your system is force Windows to shutdown unnecessary system resources prior to shutting down your system. This includes closing background processes and applications you might not even know are running. While you can do this manually by picking through the Processes and Applications listed in Windows Task Manager, an easier way is to use an application to help you.

SmartClose is an almost perfect tool for this very purpose. I rely on the app to shutdown unnecessary components before doing video editing because I want to free up all available system resources. SmartClose also provides a good solution for shutting down background applications hanging the Windows shutdown process. Simply configure SmartClose to close everything on your system prior to shutting down the system and your shutdown should return to normal. In most cases, you can do this once and future attempts to shutdown will work more gracefully, but without knowing every app installed on your system, it's hard to say for certain what specifically is hanging things up on shutdown, so using SmartClose more regularly might be necessary.