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When I click on Start->Logoff, rather than logging off and going back to the CTRL+ALT+DEL logon screen, the entire computer shuts down and powers off. This doesn't happen with other accounts (even other domain accounts) so it's something specific to my user.

This is on Windows XP. Is there a registry setting that controls this sort of behavior? Thanks!


As for virus scan, there is a virus scanner running on the computer. If I try to exit it, it wants a password. If I try to terminate the process using Task Manager, I get an "Access Denied" error (It's running as SYSTEM). So I can't test if that's the culprit.

Using the Shutdown command actually works. Running shutdown.exe -l will log me off and take me back to the logon screen - so this means it's something with the actual Logout button the Start Menu itself. I guess I can use this as a workaround.

I also looked in C:\WINDOWS\system32\GroupPolicy\User\Scripts\Logoff and there are no files in that directory.

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So just to confirm, the computers is part of a domain, and you are the admin? – wizlog Nov 2 '11 at 16:50
Nope, this is a work computer on a corporate domain. I am not the admin of the domain, but I do have local admin rights on this machine. – Mike Christensen Nov 2 '11 at 16:53
Desktop or Laptop? Might be something lurking within your Power Profile? I've not had a good dig in there recently to see what's lurking...! – HaydnWVN Nov 2 '11 at 17:03
This is on a desktop.. I don't see anything in "Power Options" that looks like it could be the issue. There's a setting called "When I press the power button on my computer" that's set to "Shut Down", but I think that's just what happens if you hit the physical power button on the case. – Mike Christensen Nov 2 '11 at 17:07
This sounds like a stupid question, but have you doublechecked that the button you're pushing actually does say Logoff? IIRC, there is group policy that will replace the logoff button with a shutdown button, but it should at least say shutdown if this is the case. – Harry Johnston Nov 2 '11 at 21:17
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Try this to rule out the "log off" button being the actual problem.

create a new shortcut on your desktop (right-click -> new -> shortcut)

enter this as the location %windir%\system32\shutdown.exe -l -t 0

enter a name for the shortcut

click finish

double-click on your newly minted shortcut to log out. If your computer still shuts down completely, the log off button itself is not the issue.

If it still shuts down all the way, there may be some script on log-off that is telling the system to shut down upon logoff. check this folder for a bat file or some other script. C:\WINDOWS\System32\GroupPolicy\User\Scripts\Logoff

If there is something there, chances are your domain policy admins have put it there for some reason.

now, if it only happens to your user account, the policy may be scoped to only apply to YOU.

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Awesome ideas! I added a bit more to my post.. I'll mark this as the answer since it provided a workaround if no one has a better explanation (it's probably some obscure domain policy, there's like 8 million of those).. – Mike Christensen Nov 2 '11 at 20:53

Is Norton Antivirus on the system? There is a bug that affects the logoff, restart, and shutdown behaviors. See Microsoft Support

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Nothing by Norton, but there is some virus scanner called Trend Micro OfficeScan. I guess I could try killing it and then seeing if that fixes it. – Mike Christensen Nov 2 '11 at 18:41
If the workaround mentioned in the above link works, you could use that method of logging off until you find a proper solution. – iglvzx Nov 2 '11 at 19:01

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