This article describes general procedures that you can use
to troubleshoot shutdown problems in Windows Server 2003.
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
- Undo any recent changes to the computer.
- Use safe mode to identify the cause of the shutdown
- Confirm that the computer's complementary metal oxide
semiconductor (CMOS) and basic input/output system (BIOS) settings are
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.
- Press CTRL+ALT+DELETE, and then click Task Manager.
- Click the Applications tab.
- In the Task column, click the program that you want to quit, and then click End Task.
- Quit Task Manager.
- 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.
determine if the computer shuts down correctly in safe mode:
- Restart the computer.
- When are prompted to select the operating system to start,
- On the Windows Advanced Option menu, use
the ARROW keys to select Safe Mode, and then press ENTER.
- 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.
- After the computer starts in safe mode, turn off the
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.
- 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
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
- Restart the computer in normal mode, and then do one of the
You can use Device Manager to remove or disable devices and
- 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
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:
How to Manage Devices in Windows
How to Troubleshoot Unknown Devices Listed in Device Manager
Explanation of Error Codes Generated by Device Manager
Configure Devices Using Device Manager in Windows Server 2003
- Turn off the computer to test whether the shutdown problem
- 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.
information about how to troubleshoot shutdown problems by using safe mode,
click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge
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 CorrectWARNING
: 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
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:
- 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.
- Shut down and restart the computer between each program
installation and note if the incorrect shutdown behavior occurs.
the behavior occurs, the last driver or the program that you installed may be
the cause of the incorrect shutdown behavior.
- 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
Article ID: 324268 - Last Review: December 3, 2007 - Revision: 10.3
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