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The machine in question is running Windows 7 (64 Bit) on a Core i5 with 8 GB of RAM with all Windows Updates applied. Not that the specs should make a difference.

Shutting down this machine from the start menu or through shutdown.exe - s sometimes restarts it instead. Any clues as to what might be going on?

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This can simply be a hardware issue with your BIOS, care to check if there is an upgrade for your hardware and see if that works? –  Bruno Pereira Jul 31 '12 at 9:13
    
It is possible for third-party software to do this. I suggest you start by finding out whether it still happens if you explicitly log out and then shut down from the logon screen. –  Harry Johnston Aug 2 '12 at 1:46
    
I realize you've mentioned that all updates are current, but I would still advise you double-check to ensure there are no updates pending installtion from Windows Update. Windows Update can seriously screw around with the system startup/shutdown sequence in that circumstance. –  David W Aug 16 '12 at 12:24
    
@DavidW: Thanks. I do keep windows up to date religiously. Since this issue is apparent on only one of my desktops, BIOS updates may very well be the reason like Bruno suggested. –  Raheel Khan Aug 16 '12 at 16:35
    
@Harry: I have the same issue, even when I explicitly log out and then shut down from the logon screen. –  tog22 Feb 22 '13 at 22:09

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