Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am experiencing an issue with Windows 7 Professional. The computer experiences some issues randomly (internet connectivity, slows down, etc). At this point I will try to shutdown the computer, which ends up taking at least 15 minutes. The computer logs out and displays "Shutting down" for 15 minutes. Eventually it will shutdown. When it comes back up it displays an error message and indicates that there is a dump file.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I have already rolled back recent updates but it doesn't seem to have helped. I can link the dmp files somewhere if they would be of help.


share|improve this question

A long shutdown and start up is the symptom of faulty hardware.

The first thing you should do is verify that your backup is current.

After that, start running hardware tests. Memory and Hard drive tests are a good place to start. The hard drive manufacture generally provides a basic hard drive tester. Memtest86+ is a good way to test your memory.

When I had this issue, I verified my hard drive was good and then did a disk defrag. This forced a large portion of data on my disk to be rewritten to new sectors. It seemed to help quite a bit.

Hope this helps.

share|improve this answer
+1 for you, although I disagree with your assessment that "a long shutdown and start up is the symptom of faulty hardware" because software problems are common causes too. Your suggestions after that are all very good though. – Randolf Richardson May 25 '11 at 21:01
You are right, faulty hardware is not the only possible cause, but it is the easiest to test. I would probably work on this issue in the following order: test hardware, update drivers, reduce running programs, scan for viruses, reinstall windows. – Doltknuckle May 25 '11 at 21:27
Thanks for the advice but unfortunately I had already thought of that but hadn't posted it. I should also mention that the pc is less than a year old. I didn't run memtest86 but I did run a test in the bios for hardware issues. – bacord May 26 '11 at 5:24
Have you done anything that checks file integrity? It's possible that the hardware is good, but some random sector on the hard drive has been corrupted and is causing problems. If you have access to SprinRite I'd try that, if not, do a disk defrag. – Doltknuckle May 26 '11 at 15:13

Scan for viruses and SpyWare since these types of "HateWare" are common causes of such symptoms. Here are some of the programs I use:

  F-Prot Anti-Virus (no-charge 30-day evaluation period)

  MalwareBytes (free)

  SpyBot - Search & Destroy (free)

Additionally, there is a certain type of failure I've observed quite a few times with hard drives wherein they begin to slow down before they stop working. But if you're ONLY seeing this during shutdown, then this probably isn't the problem you're experiencing.

share|improve this answer
You can check for MalWare by looking at the running processes. If you have anything that looks "odd" then I would try the scans. Most Malware will have some sort of tray icon or popup window. – Doltknuckle May 25 '11 at 21:00
@Doltknuckle: There are actually a lot of different viruses and SpyWare that don't appear in the Windows Task List; using this approach to determine if one should scan for hostile software is not recommended -- using the scan to rule out these as possible problems is a much safer approach (especially if the scan is run from a clean computer on the suspect computer's hard drive connected as a secondary/external device). – Randolf Richardson May 25 '11 at 21:05
From a security standpoint, I agree with you. The problem is that the majority of Malware problems that I have run into are scams that try to get you to pay for something. That doesn't mean that traditional viruses don't exist. Even if this is an infection, you would still want to backup your files and reinstall the OS. It's the only way you can be sure that the virus is gone. – Doltknuckle May 25 '11 at 21:24
Yes, I have run a malwarebytes scan which came up with no results and it is currently being protected by the avg pro version. I don't think it is a virus issue. – bacord May 26 '11 at 5:27
@Randolf Yes I agree that rootkits are a possibility but I don't believe its a virus problem. As far as driver issues, the unit is 6 months to a year old. It should not be encountering driver issues that did not exist in the beginning. I have checked the event log for any discrepancies. While the specs on the pc are not fantastic, a dualcore intel and 2 gb of ram should be enough to run business applications. – bacord May 26 '11 at 5:36

This is the Windows NT 6.x shutdown process. Notice the 15 minute grace period mentioned partway through. ☺

share|improve this answer
Wrong. You haven't read the page hyperlinked to, clearly. – JdeBP May 26 '11 at 6:40
Perhaps because the inference of and attempts at humour are entirely on your part. What I wrote was an entirely serious answer to the question, and an entirely serious suggestion to notice a grace period of the right length. – JdeBP May 26 '11 at 9:20

If you have ruled out hardware related issues, a program is probably not closing properly. You generally want to prevent unused software from automatically launching on start up. This will reduce the number of potential problem software and eliminate potential sources of problems. There is a lot of software out there that launches a process on start up that will take system resources. If that program crashes or is having problems, it can impact your machine.

To clean up these startup programs, you need to clean up the "Run" section of the registry and empty out the "startup" section of the start menu. I wrote a blog post about this here. You basically want to remove anything that you don't use every day. Thinks like your AV scanner should stay but things like messenger apps and the adobe speed launcher generally don't. Also, keep an eye out for anything being launched from the C:\Users\\ folder. A ton of malware use this folder as a storage place for their exe.

Another possibility is that there is a bad windows file. To check for bad windows files, Microsoft provided a tool called the System File Checker or SFC for short. You should run this and make sure that everything is good to go.

As a last resort, I'd install a new hard drive and reinstall the OS. Sometimes, there is nothing you can do to fix the system and just have to rebuild from scratch. I have to stress that this is a last resort when all else fails and you just have to make this work again.

I apologize for writing a second answer, but I felt that this really didn't relate to my first answer.

Hope this helps.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.