Fix: Windows 10 Takes Forever to Shutdown

Shutting down your Windows may seem like a simple process. You are just turning your PC off. How hard can it be?

Yet there is a lot more to shutting down rather than just cutting the power supply to your computer. Windows have to sequentially shut down system processes, save your data, and free up your memory with unwanted data present. Usually, the shutdown process consumes no more than a few seconds. However, sometimes the complex series of steps can trip over each other causing Windows to take a lot of time while shutting down.

There can be many problems responsible for your PC not shutting down. We listed some of them so you can pinpoint where the error is originating and fix it.

Solution 1: Software Problems

Programs are the most common cause of the shutdown issues. If your computer takes a lot of time at the “programs need to close” window or doesn’t go beyond that, it means you likely have a software problem at hand.

Ideally, the way Windows 10 was designed, Windows will show you the list of programs which need to be closed. Most of the time they will be closed automatically but a conflict or a program not responding could delay the shutdown process drastically. This happens because that program needs to save data before it could close. If it isn’t able to save the data, Windows get stuck there. You can halt the shutdown process by pressing “Cancel” and then save all your programs and close them manually.

Sometimes this trick doesn’t work. Users reported that a list similar to the one above appeared on their screen but it was empty or it appeared momentarily and the shutdown process doesn’t proceed too. This is a sign that a program is interfering with your shutdown process. You should abort the process, head over to the task manager (Press Windows + R and type “taskmgr”) and examine the applications which are running. Note their memory/disk usage and determine which program is the culprit.

Fixing a program once you’ve identified it isn’t easy at all. The software may need to be uninstalled or may require re-installation. It’s likely that the software wasn’t installed properly or may require some updates. Some trial and error might be required to determine the exact program which is causing you problems.

Solution 2: Process Problems

Windows has to close a number of processes before it can completely shut down. It packs up data to ensure that Windows boots up without problems the next time it is started. If a process hangs which shutting down, the shutting down process halts until that process is resolved. You won’t be able to pinpoint which process is causing the problem as the Windows shutting down screen provides no details.

We can change the settings in your registry to make Windows show all the processes which are shutting down and consuming time. This way, we will be able to pinpoint the problem and resolve it.

  1. Press Windows + R to launch the Run application. Type “regedit” in the dialogue box to launch your computer’s registry editor.
  2. Now navigate to the following file path using the navigation pane present at the left side of the screen.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System

  1. Now at the right side of the screen, you will see an entry named as “VerboseStatus”. If you see it, right click on it and select Modify from the list of options. Change its value to 1 and save changes.

If you don’t see the entry, we can make the entry manually and set the status as 1. Right click on the empty white portion and select New and choose DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name the new entry as “VerboseStatus” and set its status to 1. Save changes and exit.

Now you will see all the list of processes which are shutting down when you are on the shutdown screen. You can then easily determine which process is causing you problems and carry on with the troubleshooting. Most common processes which cause a problem include hardware drivers or network adapters.

Note: Windows Registry is a powerful tool. Alterations to the wrong files/values can cause your computer to become unstable and even damage it. Proceed with caution and always double check the steps before implementing anything.

Solution 3: Operating System or Driver Problems

Many individuals turn off Windows Update to minimize the CPU and disk usage when they are working on their computers. Windows Updates contain bug fixes for various issues ranging from drivers to the operating system itself. It is extremely recommended that you keep your Windows update turned on all the time so you don’t face a problem while shutting down.

In Windows 10, the updates are enabled by default unless you change the settings. To check the status of your updates and install them (if available), follow the following steps.

  1. Open start menu and type Settings in the search bar. Open the first result which comes forward.

  1. Once in the Settings, click on Update and Security option present at the bottom left side of the screen.

  1. Now click on Windows Update. Here you will see the status. You can also click Check for Updates so Windows can download any new updates (if available).

If Windows requires a restart to perform the update, it’s best to do it as soon as possible. Save all your work and restart.

Solution 4: Page File Problems

Windows has a feature named as Page File. Its purpose is to work as an extension to your RAM. If your system requires more memory than what is available in the RAM, the least used portions of your RAM are transferred to your hard drive so the computer can access it whenever needed.

By default in most of the computers, clearing the Page File is necessary to prevent security loopholes. The data can be retrieved by exploiters or malware. Clearing the Page File can consume time in the shutdown process. We can check if disabling it brings any improvement to our conditions.

  1. Press Windows + R to launch the Run application. Type “regedit” in the dialogue box to launch your computer’s registry editor.
  2. Once in the Registry editor, navigate to the following file path using the navigation tab present at the left side of the screen.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management

  1. Now, look at the entries present at the right side of the screen. Search through them until you find “ClearPageFileAtShutdown”. If its value is set as 1, it means it is enabled and might delay the shutdown process. Right click it, select Modify and set its value to 0. Save changes and exit.

Note: Windows Registry is a powerful tool. Alterations to the wrong files/values can cause your computer to become unstable and even damage it. Proceed with caution and always double check the steps before implementing anything.

Solution 5: Disk Drive Problems

If your problem doesn’t get resolved at this stage, it means there is a problem on your Solid State Drive (SSD) or Hard Drive (HDD). A corrupt or a bad sector in the drives may hang when the data is being stored, or it may even save the data in the corrupt/bad sectors which may cause the shutdown to fail or consume a lot of time.

We can check the health of your drives by using the Windows feature “Error Checking”.

  1. Open your “My Computer” (also called My Pc).
  2. Here all your hard drives will be listed accordingly. Repeat the following steps for all of your hard drives connected.
  3. Right click on the drive and select Properties from the list of options available.

  1. Once in the Properties, navigate to the tab of “Tools” and click on Check present in the Error Checking

Now Windows will check all of your sectors one by one and determine if there is any problem with the drive. If your drive is corrupted, you can always repair it using the Error Checking utility. If it’s a minor problem, it will be fixed and the bad sectors will be isolated. However, if it is physical damage, you might have to go to your nearest repair shop and get your machine inspected.

Solution 6: Locating Services Causing Shutdown Delays

If you can’t pinpoint the services which are causing the delay while shutting down, we can navigate to Event Viewer and check the log to get an idea.

  1. Right click on the Windows button present at the bottom left side of the screen. Select Event Viewer from the list of options available.

Or you can even press Windows + R button to launch the Run application and type “eventvwr” in the dialogue to launch it.

  1. Now Navigate to the following path using the navigation pane present at the left side of the screen.

Applications and Services Logs\Microsoft\Windows\Diagnostics-Performance\Operational

  1. Now right click on Operational present at the left side of the screen and select “Filter Current Log” from the list of options available.
  2. Now type “203” in the dialogue box of Event ID and press Ok. This will filter all the logs and only show logs related to the shutdown process in Windows.

  1. Now, look through the list. Windows will be showing only those processes which have the tag “This service caused a delay in the system shutdown process”. You will be able to see the name of services slowing down your computer’s shut down in the General tab. Look for “File Name” and “Friendly Name” to determine the identity of the processes responsible.

The information you extract here can easily lead you to any services which cause a delay to your shut down process. In this example, the VPN service took a lot of time to shut down and was one of the reasons your computer was stuck in the Shutting Down phase. If you have the software installed and don’t actually use it that often, it is best to disable it.

Some services might be system services and you can’t uninstall them, unfortunately. But most of the time the services conflicting with the shutdown process are user installed. Navigate to the Control Panel, click on Uninstall Programs and search for the program there. You can easily uninstall it by right clicking and select the Uninstall option.

Solution 7: Checking your WaitToKillServiceTimeoutValue

Windows has a protocol to allow the applications to shut down themselves for a period of time before it force closes them. This time window is called WaitToKillServiceTimeoutValue. It sends a “Windows is shutting down” message to all the services and applications so they can save the work and close themselves. It then waits for a period of time before it closes them itself.

By default, Windows waits 5 seconds after you click “Shut down” before it interferes itself. If all the background services shut down themselves before the 5-second window, it will shut down immediately. If not, it will force them to close and then shut down.

There are a few values that manage how long your computer waits. But there is one specific value known as WaitToKillServiceTimeoutValue we should look into if your computer is taking a lot of time to close. Some applications increase this 5 seconds window to a much larger one when you install them as they require some extra time to close as compared to others. If this value is changed, your computer will take longer than expected.

  1. Press Windows + R to launch the Run Type “regedit” in the dialogue box and hit Enter to launch the Registry Editor.
  2. Now navigate to the following path

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control

  1. Look at the right side of the page and select the entry labeled as “WaitToKillServiceTimeoutValue”. Double click it. The value in front of you will be the time in milliseconds which Windows waits before proceeding with the shutdown. If it is set to 5000, Windows will wait 5 seconds. If it is set to 20000, Windows will wait for 20 seconds.
  2. We recommend that you don’t lower this value to less than 5000 as this is the optimum time required for the applications to close down without any crashes. However, if the value is changed, you can set it back to 5000 by double clicking the entry and set the value as 5000.

Note: Windows Registry is a powerful tool. Alterations to the wrong files/values can cause your computer to become unstable and even damage it. Proceed with caution and always double check the steps before implementing anything.

If your computer still doesn’t fix the problem, check for errors in your operating system and ensure it is updated to the latest version. Most of the time, Antivirus programs also become a hurdle in the process. Try uninstalling them or disabling them temporarily.

Kevin Arrows


Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

Expert Tip

Fix: Windows 10 Takes Forever to Shutdown

If the issue is with your Computer or a Laptop you should try using Restoro which can scan the repositories and replace corrupt and missing files. This works in most cases, where the issue is originated due to a system corruption. You can download Restoro by clicking the Download button below.

Download Now

I'm not interested

Close