When Windows Won't Shut Down

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 4 July 2006 / Last Updated on 4 July 2006]

How to automatically kill hung processes when you try to shut down Windows.

Sometimes Windows gets itself in a huff and won't shut down properly for some reason. You try to shutdown your system and nothing happens for a while, and then a dialog appears telling you that a task won't shut down and you can press End Now if you want to end it now, or you can wait for Windows to try and end it itself. Well you can avoid that hassle by making a simple registry tweak (but remember to backup your registry before editing it!). Here's how:

1. Open Regedit and navigate to HKU\.Default\Control Panel\Desktop

2. Double-click on AutoEndTasks

3. Change the value from 0 to 1

4. Reboot your machine

Now hung processes will end automatically when you try to shutdown or reboot your machine. One caveat: a hung process means something is wrong, and anytime you kill a hung process (whether manually or automatically) you risk possible data loss.

Cheers, Mitch Tulloch

The Author — Mitch Tulloch

Mitch Tulloch is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, networking, and security. He has been repeatedly awarded Most Valuable Professional (MVP) status by Microsoft for his outstanding contributions in supporting users who deploy and use Microsoft platforms, products and solutions. Mitch has published over two hundred articles on different IT websites and magazines, and he has written or contributed to almost two dozen books and is lead author for the Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press. For more information, see www.mtit.com .

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