Windows Hangs during Shutdown?

Does Windows hang when you try to shut it down? On one of my laptops, I ran into the problem where Windows would just hang while saying

Windows is Shutting Down

Sometimes it would eventually shut down, but it could take anywhere from 4 minutes to 10! The laptop is brand new and was running Windows 7, so there were no problems with the specs.

After playing around with several solutions, I was able to get rid of the annoying shutdown problem! In this post, I’ll go through the various solutions I tried and hopefully one will work for you.

Method 1 – Reinstall Network Drivers

For some strange reason, network drivers can really cause a lot of problems during shutdown. Windows tries to send certain commands to your network card to kill off network connections and if there is any problem with that communication, you can experience a very long shutdown period.

Go ahead and download the latest network drivers and install them. Restart your computer (might have to kill the power the first time) and see if it still hangs during shutdown.

Method 2 – Remove Hardware

Another reason why a shutdown can take forever is if there is some new hardware that has been installed on the computer.

If you recently installed any hardware, disable it in Device Manager and see if that solves your problem. If so, you might have to update the drivers for that piece of hardware. Also, make sure to disconnect any USB device from your computer such as USB sticks and external hard drives.

Method 3 – Uninstall Software

Another way to fix this issue is to open Task Manager and kill off some processes and then try to restart. If it’s a software program running in the background that is causing the issue, the computer will shutdown immediately.

I noticed this was a problem on computers that had anti-virus and battery backup (UPS) software installed at the same time. The two would conflict with each other during shutdown and prevent the computer from turning off.

You can try disabling anti-virus program or security software first as these tend to hang and cause issues during shutdown.

You can also disable programs from starting up altogether by going to Startup in MSCONFIG. Disable as many services (other than Microsoft ones) and startup programs as possible and try to shutdown.

Note that the slow shutdown can also be caused by Windows services like Terminal Services or graphics card services. You can disable services by using MSCONFIG or by typing services.msc into CMD.

Method 4 – Paging File Setting

Some users could have a problem in which the page file is set to be cleared during every shutdown of the computer. This is sometimes done for security reasons, but most users would never need this feature.

It can, however, be turned on by certain security software. You can disable it by going to Start, Run, typing GPEDIT.MSC and clicking ok.

Then go to Computer Configuration, Windows Settings, Security Settings, Local Policies, Security Options and find Shutdown: Clear virtual memory pagefile. Make sure it is disabled.

windows shutting down hang

Method 4 – Logoff Scripts

If you are in a domain environment, a slow shutdown could be caused by logoff scripts that are enforced on your PC. And it could actually be a problem when you are not connected to your office network.

In these cases, the computer is searching for the corporate network, but can’t find the logoff scripts and then times out after a certain amount of time. You can ask your network administrator if you think that is the reason for your slow shutdown.

If you’re still having shutdown problems in Windows 7, Vista, or XP, post a comment here with specific details and we will try to help!

Comments [4]

  1. Hi, I'm having this problem with Windows XP shutting down. Everything was working fine until I installed a new piece of hardware on my computer. I figured that was it, so I removed it, but XP is still hanging during shutdown. I left it for an hour and it still didn't shutdown. Help!

  2. Tanto,

    I think you were on the right track with removing the hardware you had recently added. Did this hardware come with any software or was it a usb device or ??? If you had to install software on your PC, it's possible the software is not quite compatible. I would also uninstall the software. If it was just a usb device, then probably no need for this. Windows always checks the hardware it sees when it boots up and compares it to the last time Windows was running. If it sees something new, you get that new device detected and if the PC has the software/drivers already installed, lots of times the hardware will go ahead and install on its own. And of course if it doesn't have the software loaded on the PC or can't find it, it will prompt you for it. It's kind of the same thing shutting down. It expects to find everything it started with. This does not apply to all hardware but mainly to hardware that requires you to install drivers for the hardware to work because the software needed is not built into Windows. If it doesn't find everything it expects to find or you disconnected some hardware without telling it you did that, that can cause Windows to hang on shutdown as well.

    Have you powered the PC back up with the hardware disconnected and then shutdown to see if it shuts down normal? Tell me more about the hardware device itself and if your PC shuts down correctly with the new hardware not connected.

  3. I still having the problem the 4th method of paging file settings

    typing GPEDIT.MSC in run gives windows cant find that file

    My operating system is windows 7

  4. Windows 7 machine with bad network driver is causing the computer not to shut down properly. Have tried everything!

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