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 well-known expert on Windows Server administration and cloud computing technologies. He has published over a thousand articles on information technology topics and has written, contributed to or been series editor for over 50 books.

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