Windows shuts down slowly when it is set to clear the virtual memory pagefile on shutdown


Support for Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) ends on July 12, 2011. To continue receiving security updates for Windows, make sure you're running Windows Vista with Service Pack 2 (SP2). For more information, refer to this Microsoft web page: Support is ending for some versions of Windows.

Symptoms


When the Clear virtual memory pagefile when system shuts down Group Policy setting is turned on in Windows Server 2003 and in later versions, the computer may take longer to shut down than it usually takes. This setting is called Shutdown: Clear virtual memory pagefile in Windows Vista and later versions.

Cause


This behavior occurs because when this policy setting is turned on, the computer must physically write to each page in the pagefile to clear each page. The period of time that it takes for the system to clear the pagefile varies according to the pagefile size, and the disk hardware that is involved.

Status


This behavior is by design.

Note This issue also occurs when the Group Policy setting is turned on in Windows XP and in Windows Server 2003.

More Information


By default, the Clear virtual memory pagefile when system shuts down Group Policy setting is turned off. To confirm this setting on Windows 2000, on Windows XP, or on Windows Server 2003, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
  2. Double-click Administrative Tools.
  3. Double-click Local Security Policy.
  4. Double-click Local Policies.
  5. Click Security Options.
  6. Look in the Effective Setting column to the right side of the Clear virtual memory pagefile when system shuts down entry.
To check this setting on Windows Vista and on later versions, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, type secpol.msc, and then press ENTER.
  2. Expand Local Policies.
  3. Click Security Options.
  4. Look in the 'Security Setting column to the right side of the Shutdown: Clear virtual memory pagefile entry.