I have a windows 8 computer, and it routinely will hang when trying to shut down and displays the "Waiting for processing to finish" page. Sometimes it will be on this page all night unless I notice and click the "Force close" button.

In windows XP and Vista/7, there was a registry key you could edit to make windows just terminate processes immediately when you wanted to shutdown.

Does this or something similar exist in windows 8?

  • 1
    It would probably be a more elegant solution to figure out why the process hangs. What program is it?
    – James
    Mar 6, 2014 at 16:50
  • There are many programs... even notepad sometimes.
    – SnakeDoc
    Mar 6, 2014 at 17:14
  • notepad is not unique to me. this behavior is new in windows 8 (the indefinitely waiting part). Windows 7 would try to wait for the process to terminate, and then after some timer, it would force shut it down. Windows 8 just sits there. I need to know what registry key i can change to either have windows terminate after a set amount of seconds, or just terminate.
    – SnakeDoc
    Mar 6, 2014 at 17:20
  • Which registry key/value are you talking about, exactly? There are different ones that might have some impact in the shutdown process, and it would be useful if you could list what did you try already.
    – and31415
    Mar 6, 2014 at 17:35
  • @and31415 i'm asking you which registry key i need to edit. In xp, you would edit: HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Control Panel/Desktop --> Wait To Kill/ App Timeout and specify how many milliseconds windows should wait for a process to complete before it just went ahead and closed it out.
    – SnakeDoc
    Mar 6, 2014 at 18:00

1 Answer 1


If you want Windows to shutdown without waiting, open the Run window with Win-R and type:

shutdown -s -f
  • The -s causes shutdown (You can also use -r to reboot).
  • The -f tells the computer to ignore all programs screaming protests that they need more time.

Windows 8 generally waits to shutdown because a file has not been saved or a program is waiting to finish executing, you will want to find out why and deal with the issue at its source. Waiting up all night for a response is often better than closing an important unsaved file that the user might need, hence why Microsoft set the default as it is, with the option to simply press the force button to shutdown your computer anyway.

If you want to do this anyway, I recommend putting the above in a batch file on your user's desktops, otherwise they might shutdown for the day in the normal way and lose an important file unthinkingly.

  • looking for something i can have my "normal" users do... so something like a registry key hack is preferable since they then don't have to think about it. re: the reason it's hanging... well, windows will even hang if you have a notepad file open... if a user has told windows to shut down, then it should shut down, not wait indefinitely.
    – SnakeDoc
    Mar 6, 2014 at 17:16
  • It's usually waiting for a reason, the true solution is to deal with that reason.
    – David
    Mar 6, 2014 at 17:43
  • If you really want to do this you can put the above command in a batch file and tell your users to run that, but I guarantee that you will get more of the opposite complaint instead, that the computer shut down without ever giving you a chance to save your stuff.
    – David
    Mar 6, 2014 at 17:44
  • it is not the OS's job to ensure users saved their work. that is the program's job and the user's job. If a user tells the OS to shut down, that means it needs to shut down, not stay on all night. The reason it's hanging is because windows, as an os, is not smart enough to determine if its safe to clobber a process and shut it down. i'm trying to tell it, it's always safe, shut it down always.
    – SnakeDoc
    Mar 6, 2014 at 18:02
  • @David many programs will ask "are you sure you want to quit?" when you issue a shutdown or logout, and that interrupts the logout process by design. It's a valid question, and is not the result of any misconfigured program. It's expected but potentially undesirable behavior.
    – nhinkle
    Mar 7, 2014 at 4:51

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