How To Troubleshoot Shutdown Problems in Windows Server 2003

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SUMMARY

This article describes general procedures that you can use to troubleshoot shutdown problems in Windows Server 2003.

When Windows shuts down, messages are sent to the devices, system services, and programs that are installed on the computer. These messages announce that Windows is preparing to shut down. The operating system waits for responses from programs that are running to make sure that the programs save unsaved data to the hard disk and shut down correctly. Each device, service, and program that is running typically responds to the shutdown message with a message that states that the program can be closed.

You may experience one or more of the following symptoms when you try to turn off the computer:
  • The computer stops responding (hangs). When this symptom occurs, a black screen may be displayed.
  • The computer does not turn off when you receive the message that states that it is safe to turn off your computer.
  • You receive an error message.
Typical causes of shutdown problems include the following:
  • Faulty or incompatible device drivers.
  • System services that either do not respond correctly or send busy request messages to the system.
  • Faulty or incompatible programs.

How to Troubleshoot Shutdown Problems in Windows Server 2003

To troubleshoot shutdown problems and to isolate the cause of the incorrect shutdown behavior, use the following methods:
  • Use Task Manager to identify the cause of the shutdown behavior.
  • Undo any recent changes to the computer.
  • Use safe mode to identify the cause of the shutdown behavior.
  • Confirm that the computer's complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) and basic input/output system (BIOS) settings are correct.

How to Use Task Manager to Identify the Cause of the Shutdown Behavior

Use Task Manager to determine the programs that are currently running on the computer. For each program that is listed in Task Manager, manually quit the program, and then shut down and restart the computer to test if the shutdown problem is resolved. To do this, follow the procedure that is described in this section.

NOTE: It is possible that not all programs that are currently running on the computer are listed on the Applications tab of Task Manager.
  1. Press CTRL+ALT+DELETE, and then click Task Manager.
  2. Click the Applications tab.
  3. In the Task column, click the program that you want to quit, and then click End Task.
  4. Quit Task Manager.
  5. Turn off the computer.

How to Undo Any Recent Changes to the Computer

If the shutdown behavior occurs immediately after you make a change to the computer (for example, you install or upgrade a program, a service, or hardware that has device drivers), undo the last change that you made. For example, remove either the last driver or the last program that you installed, and then shut down and restart the computer to test whether the computer shuts down correctly.

How to Use Safe Mode to Identify the Cause of the Shutdown Behavior

When you start your computer in safe mode, only a minimal set of necessary drivers and services is loaded. Safe mode is a useful diagnostic tool to use when you want to identify and resolve problems that are caused by faulty drivers, programs, or services that start automatically.

To determine if the computer shuts down correctly in safe mode:
  1. Restart the computer.
  2. When are prompted to select the operating system to start, press F8.
  3. On the Windows Advanced Option menu, use the ARROW keys to select Safe Mode, and then press ENTER.
  4. If you are using a dual-boot computer or a multiple-boot computer, select Microsoft Windows Server 2003 from the list that is displayed, and then press ENTER.
  5. After the computer starts in safe mode, turn off the computer.

    If the computer shuts down correctly when it is in safe mode, repeat steps 1 through 4 to restart the computer in safe mode, and then go to step 6 and follow the remaining steps of this procedure to troubleshoot and identify the cause of the shutdown problem.
  6. View the boot log file, Ntbtlog.txt, and then make a note of the devices and services that did not load when you started your computer in safe mode.

    The Ntbtlog.txt file is located in the %SystemRoot% folder (by default, this is the Windows folder). You can use Notepad to open and view the file. The Ntbtlog.txt file lists devices and services that load (and do not load) when you start your computer in safe mode.

    NOTE: If there are third-party drivers or services that run when your computer is in normal mode but do not run when your computer is in safe mode, the third-party drivers or services may be the cause of the incorrect shutdown behavior.
  7. Restart the computer in normal mode, and then do one of the following:
    • Remove the drivers for each of the drivers and services that you identified in the Ntbtlog.txt file to be possible causes of the incorrect shutdown behavior.
    • Stop the services or disable the services one at a time.
    You can use Device Manager to remove or disable devices and their drivers.
    For additional information about how to manage devices by using Device Manager, click the article numbers below to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    199276 How to Manage Devices in Windows
    244601 How to Troubleshoot Unknown Devices Listed in Device Manager
    125174 Explanation of Error Codes Generated by Device Manager
    323423 Configure Devices Using Device Manager in Windows Server 2003
  8. Turn off the computer to test whether the shutdown problem is resolved.
  9. After you identify the problem service or driver, either reinstall the service or the driver if you suspect that a file is damaged or contact the manufacturer to report the behavior and to obtain information about possible updates that you can use to resolve the shutdown behavior.
For additional information about how to troubleshoot shutdown problems by using safe mode, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
266169 How to Troubleshoot Problems with Standby Mode, Hibernate Mode, and Shutting Down Your Computer in Windows 2000

How to Confirm that the Computer's CMOS/BIOS Settings Are Correct

WARNING: This procedure may involve changing your computer's CMOS settings and changing the BIOS. Incorrect changes to the BIOS of your computer can result in serious problems. Change the computer's CMOS settings at your own risk.

Incorrect or damaged CMOS and BIOS settings can cause startup and shutdown problems. For information about the correct CMOS and BIOS settings for your computer and how to check and change these settings, see the computer documentation or contact the manufacturer of your computer. To confirm that the computer's BIOS is current, contact the computer manufacturer to inquire about the latest BIOS update available for your computer.

How to Use a Parallel Installation to Identify the Cause of the Shutdown Behavior

To use a parallel installation to troubleshoot shutdown behavior:
  1. Install a new copy of Windows Server 2003 to a separate partition on the computer (create a parallel installation), and then install drivers and programs one at a time on the parallel installation.
  2. Shut down and restart the computer between each program installation and note if the incorrect shutdown behavior occurs.

    If the behavior occurs, the last driver or the program that you installed may be the cause of the incorrect shutdown behavior.
  3. Either remove or update the driver or the program from the original installation, and then test Windows for correct shutdown.

    If the problem is resolved, remove the parallel Windows installation.



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Article ID: 324268 - Last Review: December 3, 2007 - Revision: 10.3
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Web Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, 64-Bit Datacenter Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Premium Edition
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