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One of our machines on the network is very slow to shutdown at the end of the day. It is Windows XP. The user also notices a whirring/buzzing sound coming from the PC.

The hard drive is not fragmented.

I installed the Microsoft User Profile Hive Cleanup Service, and disabled Event Viewer, and this had some effect for a few days, but the delay is back to normal now.

What are some steps to diagnose the slow shutdown?

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I created a new shortcut on her desktop:

shutdown -s -t 0

This is an adequate work around.

Any other pointers appreciated.

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I would recommend re-enabling Event Viewer and checking the System event log. The hard disk could be on it's way out. If the BIOS is S.M.A.R.T capable, ensure it is turned on and check for messages on startup.

Another option is to try starting up and shutting down in safe mode. It could be an application that is hanging upon shutdown. If safe mode proves successful, try disabling certain programs from system startup. The Windows Bluetooth drivers have caused prolonged shutdowns for me in the past as well.

  • Good idea John. Is SMART turned on in the BIOS? The PC is at a remote site. – Steve Jan 28 '11 at 3:17
  • I'm not sure, having it at a remote site adds another level of difficulty. HDtune ( hdtune.com ) should be able to tell you the SMART status from userland. – John T Jan 28 '11 at 3:41
  • Yep, SMART is enabled on the drive. – Steve Jan 28 '11 at 6:32
  • There is nothing innocuos set to startup, except MSN Messenger, and Adobe Reader quickstart, which I disabled. – Steve Jan 28 '11 at 6:33

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