The problem of slow or delayed shutdown is very commonly faced by most of the windows XP users. If you are using windows XP for a long time, you are more likely to have such problem.

Why Slow shutdown?

In Windows XP certain registry keys are responsible for determining how long windows will wait before shutting down all the opened programs and services after the shutdown command has been given by the user.

Lets see how we can fix the slow shutdown in windows XP.

You need to optimise some registry keys values in order to speed up the shutdown process.

1. Open Start >> Run and type regedit and press enter

2. Now navigate to ‘HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\’
In this entry, you will see a registry key named WaitToKillAppTimeout .

Double click on it and set its value to 1000 , this value is the time in milliseconds for which the windows waits before all the processes and services are closed.

This way you have set it to 1 second.

Not only this, there are some other registry settings set by default due to which Windows XP will prompt the user for input if there are one or more applications still not closed or not responding. This increases the shutdown time due to no response from the user.

So, you should also change that registry key settings value.

3. Navigate to ‘HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop’

Double click on the registry key ‘AutoEndTasks.’ and set its value to 1

4. That is all, Trouble Fixed.

Now restart your system, you will see a considerable reduction in the shutdown time this time.

Tip: If modifying registry seems cumbersome to you can simply create a instant shutdown shortcut on your desktop.

1. Right click on your desktop and select New >> Shortcut

2. copy the following command: %windir%\System32\shutdown.exe -s -f -t 00

3. Name your shortcut as instant shutdown

4. You can use this created shortcut for fast shutdown.

This will forcibly end all running tasks and shutdown instantly.

Warning: Make sure to save any unsaved work before you shutdown using these tips. It may cause loss of unsaved work.


  1. Aquamon says:

    Well, I’ve read this useless crap (and many others) all over the internet. (Useless before doing below):

    People have a REAL problem with shutdown in WinXP.

    If the “Windows is shutting down” screen appears stuck (over 10 seconds is too long):

    After many, many, many hours of tracking the culprit…quite simply:

    1. RUN: services.msc
    2. Disable “System Restore Service” (even if you have it disabled anywhere else!!!

    Note: The blinded troubleshooting is that we think because we have already disabled “System Restore” through other conventional means, “IT CAN’T BE THAT!!!”
    So wrong…just give it a try and watch your P4 take less than 4 seconds to shut down!
    Mine does it in 2 seconds!!!

    Now, let’s see who takes this and turns it into software & sells to lazy *&^%&*#$!

    Now that it’s revealed, doesn’t it now make sense?
    Yes, the screen stays at “Windows is now shutting down” or whatever it EXACTLY saze? See, it’s trying to do a final copy to restoration files! Just looking at the screen on shutdown “outside the box” actually is telling you that. Crystal clear, now, eh?

  2. Himanshu says:

    Thanks for the nice solutions. it really help out some regarding this issue

  3. wie says:

    Hi Aquamon,

    It didn’t work. Mine is P4, too

  4. Marlene says:

    Sorry but this did not work either. I have tried everything anyone has written on the subject and still takes forever to shut down.

  5. Larry Miller says:

    Microsoft set the registry value WaitToKillAppTimeout to 20000 for a reason, to allow applications ample time to close themselves before shutdown. By shortening this to 1 second and setting AutoEndTasks we have made it almost certain that this will not happen. Applications will be forcibly terminated, with no opportunity for an orderly shutdown. This could lead to data loss or corruption. Is it worth your data for the convenience of a fast shutdown?

    Larry Miller
    Microsoft MCSA

  6. Martin says:


    I am having a problem with my eee pc it is taking forever to shut down.
    I have tried the suggestions on your site including disabling System Restore.
    Still no joy.

    Any other tips.
    Martin Kirwan

  7. ian nuyen says:

    Usb slots don’t recognize any devices I plugged in. For example: usb stick, camera, printer and mouse etc… It always displays unknown devices.

  8. ian nuyen says:

    Please help. Thank you very much for your help.

  9. Sakthi says:

    I am using WindowsXp with service pack3, it is taking long time(20-30 min)to shutdown. Pl help me to resolve this problem

  10. Morten says:

    I do not recommend some of these steps…

    Like changing the WaitToKillAppTimeout registry key.

    When it times out, programs are not closed. They are terminated.

    It means that all programs that didn’t close in time, will be forcefully terminated, and won’t have a change to do whatever they want to do when closing.

    Some programs might store information, or other data, etc. when closing.

    Windows lets them do so, when you shut down your computer.

    If the WaitToKillAppTimeout runs out, the programs are terminated, and won’t be able to do any shutdown procedures.

    See it like, letting your employees walk down from the 10th floor, and leave the building

    compared to

    grabbing them all and throw them out the windows from the 10th floor. (And instantly hit the ground)

  11. RickPro says:

    I like Morten’s reason of why this is a bad idea.
    This could hurt your computer, and yet freeze your shutdown.
    Having it at 1000 would be a 30% of the time for a safe shutdown if loaded media/hard ram usage programs.
    Having it at 15000 would be 90%
    Having it at 20000+ would be most likely at 100%

    I would recommend using “Tuneup Utilities”, if you are not sure what to put it at. Google it, there should be a free trial. Hope this helps.

  12. vinster888 says:

    I have tried what seems to be everything on the net as well. I am hoping this works, other than that I will just shut down even less often.

  13. MTA says:

    Even it is a bad idea, it doesn’t work for my machine. Mine is going on as usual as if it wasn’t set nothing.

    If anybody have anyother good idea, please let me know.

  14. Tom says:

    Disabling System Restore Service in the Services (Local) directory (services.msc) did NOT do anything. It did NOT work!! In fact it’s taking longer now! Cchecking Turn off System Restore in My Computer Properties did nothing either.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>