I have a core i3 notebook running Windows 7 32-bit, and sometimes it takes a long time to shutdown or reboot. I have disabled Windows Update, and have not installed any new software or drivers. So, there is no reason to take about 5 minutes to shutdown or reboot.

How can I determine what it is doing? BTW, I see the blinking light for hard disk activity during these time.

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Actually, this can be enabled through Group Policy.

If you're running a Professional edition of Windows, the setting is found in the Group Policy Editor: Type gpedit.msc in the Start menu search box (or Cortana) and hit Enter, then go to Computer Configuration → Administrative Templates → System and is called Verbose vs normal status messages for Windows 7 and earlier and Display highly detailed status messages for Windows 8 and later. Enable the setting to show verbose information while shutting down or starting up.

If you're running a Home version of Windows, open Registry Editor, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion‌​\Policies\System, and set the key verbosestatus to 1, creating it as a DWORD value if it does not exist.

(Credit for the specifics of this process goes to The Windows Club.)

  • I tried this but no luck, nothing more than "Windows is shutting down" or "Turning off PC" is displayed during this time. – Rama Mar 19 '17 at 14:42
  • this is not really an answer. to see what Windows does use WPT to trace shutdown in detail. – magicandre1981 Mar 22 '17 at 17:46

Install the Windows Performance Toolkit, part of Windows 10 SDK (Build 15086, last version that works on Windows 7).

Run WPRUI.exe, select First Level, under Resource select CPU usage, DiskIO, FileIO and under Performance Scenario select Shutdown. Number of iteration can be set to 1

enter image description here

and click to start.

After reboot, open the ETL with WPA.exe. In WPA.exe, click on Profiles->Apply->"Browse Catalog" and select FullBoot.Shutdown.wpaprofile.

Now you see this overview how long shutdown takes:

enter image description here

In this sample it takes 8s to shutdown. 2s are needed to close the user session (were 1.2s were spend to kill onedrive.exe) and shutting down the windows kernel/services takes 5s.

Look at your data to see where Windows spends most of the time. If you see disk activity during shutdown, analyze the ETL for DiskIO and FileIO.

  • What if you know the reason is one of the following, occurs at random, and you cant fix them: windows update, new stuck windows update, crappy disk backup software, a new piece of hardware you just tried. How can you prevent altogether a blue screen that has a chance of keeping your machine either locked for hours or stuck until you force restart? – Spectraljump Jan 30 '18 at 16:30
  • @Spectraljump I can't understand the relevance to my answer. if you get a BSOD during shutdown ask a question if you can't analyze the dmp on your own – magicandre1981 Jan 30 '18 at 16:38
  • Sorry for misleading, "blue screen" was not referring to "bluescreen" or "BSoD". Was referring to the screen that is blue and you get stuck with when all you want is quickly restart or shut down your laptop/PC. Your solution is great but solves one thing after the fact, does not prevent the inevitable new ones. – Spectraljump Jan 30 '18 at 16:41
  • @Spectraljump this is an analyzer, not preventer. – magicandre1981 Jan 30 '18 at 16:48

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