HOW TO: Perform an Emergency Shutdown in Windows

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This article describes how to shut down the Windows operating system in an emergency situation.

In some situations you may have to shut down the Windows operating system very quickly.

The process described in this article is not the recommended way to shut down your computer, but it can be performed in extreme circumstances when you either cannot normally shut down your computer, or you need to bring it offline without saving any current information. This process, however, is less harmful than turning off the power to your computer by performing a hard restart (reboot).

CAUTION: If you perform the following steps, your operating system can shut down quickly without prompting you to save any currently open documents. Any unsaved information is going to be lost.

Performing an Emergency Shutdown in Windows

  2. When the logon information screen is displayed, press CTRL.
  3. Press the TAB key to move to the Shut down option, and then while you are pressing CTRL, click Shut down or press ENTER.
  4. When the following message is displayed, click OK to continue with the emergency shutdown:
    If you continue, your machine will reboot and any unsaved data will be lost. Use this only as a last resort.


Article ID: 279134 - Last Review: October 30, 2006 - Revision: 3.3
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
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