Some Windows users are reporting that an app is preventing the shutdown. Most affected users are reporting that there’s no name associated with the application (just an icon) when the “This app is preventing shutdown” error appears. This error message appears when you try to shut down Windows and there’s a third-party application that contains unsaved data. This behavior is reported to occur on Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.
What is causing the “app is preventing shutdown” error message?
We investigated this particular issue by looking at various user reports and the repair strategies that most affected users have successfully deployed to resolve the issue.
The main cause why this particular error message (“This app is preventing shutdown” appears) when applications with unsaved data are still opened inside your operating system. Here’s a list with typical culprits that are known to trigger this particular error message:
- Text Editors: Notepad++, Komodo, Brackets
- Office suites: Microsoft Office, Libre Office, LibreOffice, Apache OpenOffice, SoftMaker FreeOffice, etc.
- Image Editors: Photoshop, Illustrator, Sumopaint, Pixlr, GIMP, PhotoScape, InPixio, etc.
If you’re looking for a way to resolve or circumvent the “This app is preventing shutdown” error, this article will provide you with some troubleshooting steps. Down below, you’ll find several methods that other users in a similar situation have used to prevent the warning message from appearing (either by handling the app responsible or by disabling the warning prompt altogether.
The methods are ordered by efficiency and severity. If you want a minimum-invasive procedure, use methods 1 to 3. If you’re looking for a method that will ensure that you won’t see the error message again, use the last method.
Method 1: Closing all applications with unsaved data
If you are able to find the program that is referenced during the shutdown warning, you can resolve the warning message by opening the program dealing with the unsaved data and closing it. To do this, simply click Cancel, then open the responsible program and save the changes before trying the Shut Down procedure again.
Of course, these steps are not applicable if you’re dealing with a background app or you can’t figure out which process is causing the problem.
Update: If you’re seeing this warning message with a Brother printer or fax machine (belonging to the Brother Printer Help App), it might also mean that an update is available for its driver. In this case, you will be able to update it via the notification bar.
If this method is not applicable or you’re looking for a method that will completely eliminate the warning message, move down to the next method below.
Method 2: Ending the task via Task Manager
As some users have reported, the issue can also occur with a background app. This is tricky since you have no apparent means of dealing with unsaved data in order to force the error message to disappear. There are a few common culprits that are known to trigger this particular behavior – mostly Brother Printer & Fax Machine drivers and similar printer drivers that only operate in the background.
Some affected users have managed to resolve the issue by using the Task Manager to close the responsible process. Here’s a quick guide on how to do this:
- Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open up Task Manager. Then, go to the Processes tab and look for the process with the same icon as the one mentioned in the alert.
- Right-click on the process that you need to close and choose End Task.
- As soon as the response process is disabled, you should be able to complete the shutdown process without encountering the “This app is preventing shutdown” warning.
If this method wasn’t applicable or you’re looking for a permanent way to disable the warning message, move down to the next method below.
Method 3: Using Event Viewer to find the process responsible for the warning message
If you’re suspecting that an application process is responsible for the holdup but you can’t figure out which one, there is one way that will allow you to figure out exactly which app is causing the issue.
Some users finding themselves in a similar situation have reported that they were able to use the Event Viewer in order to figure out the application responsible for the warning message.
Here’s a quick guide on using the Event Viewer to figure out which process is responsible for the “This app is preventing shutdown” warning message:
- Initiate a shutdown as you would normally do.
- When you see the “This app is preventing shutdown” warning prompt, hit the Cancel button to quit the shutdown operation.
- Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Then, type “eventvwr.msc” and press Enter to open up the Event Viewer utility.
- Inside the Event Viewer utility, use the left-hand side menu to select Windows Logs. Then, double click on Application to bring up the Application events in the right-hand side pane.
- Inside the Application section, look for an event that states “The following application attempted to veto the shutdown” in the General tab (under the list of events). Since you’ve just forced the warning message to appear, it should be one of the very first listings since the default order is by date/time.
- You will be able to find the executable that is causing the warning message listed after the colon. In case you don’t recognize it, Google it and you will be able to find the program that it’s tied to.
- Once you manage to identify the application responsible, press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager. Then, go to the Processes tab and close the application responsible.
If this method wasn’t applicable and you’re looking for a method that will prevent the This app is preventing shutdown” warning message from ever appearing again, move down to the next method below. If you were unable to find any app, check if you have the “Brother Printer Services” app because it is known to cause issues during the shutdown. Find it and uninstall/disable it as indicated above.
Method 4: Using Registry Editor to prevent the alert
There is one permanent way that will allow you to get rid of the “This app is preventing shutdown” warning message. This method involves using a Registry Editor hack to program your OS to ensure that all open software which includes unsaved data will close automatically as soon as you commence the shutdown procedure in Windows. Before continuing, make sure to create a backup of your registry in case something bad goes down and you are able to back the registry up.
While this makes it certain that you won’t receive the alert ever again, it also has the potential of making you lose some unsaved data if you mistakenly commence the shutdown procedure before you’re ready to.
Here’s a quick guide on preventing the “This app is preventing shutdown” altered by modifying the Registry:
- Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Then, type “regedit” and press Enter to open up Registry Editor.
- Inside Registry Editor, use the left-hand pane to navigate to the following location:
Note: You can navigate to this location directly by pasting the location directly in the navigation bar at the top of the Registry Editor screen and pressing Enter.
- Once you reach the correct location, move over to the right-hand pane and right-click on an empty space. Then, select New > String value and name it AutoEndTasks.
- Double-click on the newly created String value (AutoEndTasks) and set the value data to 1. Then, click Ok to save the changes.
- Close Registry Editor and restart your computer to save the changes.
- At the next startup, the newly created string value (AutoEndTask) will ensure all software will close automatically as soon as you click the Shutdown button – even if they contain unsaved data.