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Troubleshoot Windows Hanging During Shutdown

Does Windows freeze when trying to turn it off? On one of my laptops, I ran into an issue where Windows would just hang on the shutdown screen for an abnormally long time.

Sometimes it ended up disconnecting, but it could take anywhere from 4 minutes to 10 minutes! The laptop is brand new and was running Windows 10, so there were no spec issues.

By playing around with a few solutions, I was able to get rid of the annoying shutdown problem! In this post, I’ll go over various solutions I’ve tried and hopefully one of them works for you.

The first method – reinstall the network drivers

For some strange reason, network drivers can indeed cause tons of problems when shutting down. Windows tries to send certain commands to your network card to disable network connections, and if there is any problem with this connection, you may experience a very long disconnection period.

Download the latest network drivers and install them. Restart your computer (you may need to power off the first time) and see if it continues to freeze when shutting down.

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The second method – removing hardware and devices

Another reason the shutdown can take forever is if there is new hardware installed on the computer.

If you’ve recently installed any hardware, disable it in Device Manager and see if that solves your problem. If so, you may need to update drivers for this hardware. Also, remember to disconnect all USB devices from your computer, such as USB drives and external hard drives.

Third method – hard drive errors

In my case, the problem was with my hard drive. The disk was several years old and heavily partitioned. Somewhere along the way, bad sectors begin to appear. It is recommended that you run the chkdsk utility on Windows to check if there are any disk errors that might be causing the slowdown.

You should also read my posts on how to troubleshoot a hard drive and some free tools you can use to test and diagnose your hard drive.

Fourth method – uninstall the program

Another way to fix this problem is to open Task Manager and kill some processes and then try to restart. If the problem is caused by a program running in the background, the computer will shut down immediately.

I noticed this was a problem on computers that had both antivirus and battery backup (UPS) software installed at the same time. They will conflict with each other during shutdown and prevent the computer from shutting down.

You may want to try disabling your antivirus or security software first, as they often freeze and cause problems on shutdown.

You can also disable startup programs entirely by going to Startup in MSCONFIG. Disable as many services (other than Microsoft) and startup programs as possible and try shutting down. This is called a clean boot, and Microsoft has a detailed article on how to do it.

Note that slow shutdowns can also be caused by Windows services such as Terminal Services or Graphics Card Services. You can disable services using MSCONFIG or by entering services.msc in CMD.

Fifth method – preparing the paging file

Some users may experience a problem where the paging file is configured to clean up every time the computer is turned off. This is sometimes done for security reasons, but most users will never need this feature.

However, it can be enabled with certain security software. You can disable it by selecting Start, Run, typing GPEDIT.MSC and clicking OK.

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

Method 6 – Logout scripts

If you are in a domain environment, slow shutdowns can be caused by logout scripts that are enforced on your PC, and this can be a problem when you are not connected to your office network.

In these cases, the computer searches the corporate network but cannot find any logoff scripts, and then shuts down after a certain amount of time. You can ask your network administrator if you think this is the reason for the slow shutdown.

Method 7 – AHCI BIOS Setup

If you’ve recently switched the hard drive on your computer, you can check your BIOS settings and enable or disable AHCI. AHCI is used to enable software to communicate with a disk or SATA device.

If, after changing this setting, your computer doesn’t boot properly, don’t worry, just go back to BIOS and reset it to its original value and everything should work fine.

If you’re still having trouble shutting down Windows, leave a comment here with details and we’ll try to help!

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