It never fails. You're in a rush and need to have Windows shutdown down quickly. Instead of a fast power off, you end up waiting forever starring at the message "Please wait while Windows shuts down".
So your tempted to just shutdown by hitting the power button. But you don't want to pay the price by causing file or registry corruption and not be able to quickly boot up Windows when you're…in a rush!
Fortunately there's an easy fix and an explanation to the cause of the problem.
The Mystery Of The Long Shutdown Time And Slow Logoff
During shutdown, Windows needs to make sure user sessions are completely terminated by unloading your user profile and releasing (closing) any connections to the registry. Until these connections are released, Windows will keep trying to unload the profile until it determines that it can't, and finally just shuts down, which is usually minutes later.
If Windows shuts down (or logs you off) without releasing the connections and your user session is prevented from completely ending, eventual problems can occur (such as trying to log back on to your computer).
The culprits of these issues are misbehaving Microsoft or third party system processes and applications (e.g. printer drivers, virus scanner service, etc). Even if you identify which processes or applications are causing the problem, you not be able to do anything about it.
Recognizing the problem, Microsoft has created a utility called UPHClean installer (User Profile Hive Cleanup Service) that you can download from Microsoft download center. UPHClean will run on Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP.
- Double click on UPHClean-Setup.msi (select Run if prompted by the Security Warning dialog box).
- Click Next, then agree to the License Agreement and click Next again.
- Select the Installation folder (or leave at the default selection) an click Next.
- Click Next to confirm Installation then click Close to exit.
Once installation has completed, UPHClean is installed as a service (no program shortcut is created in the Start menu) and can be viewed by clicking on Start \ Run… and enter services.msc.
In the Services console, scroll down and look for the User Profile Hive Cleanup service.
No other configuration is needed. The service will run in the background and reclaim resources when a task is finished by monitoring the system for when you logoff, and verify that unused resources are reclaimed.
No more waiting when you log off or shutdown your Computer.
What About Vista?
According to Microsoft, because UPHClean has been very successful in eliminating long logoff and shutdown problems, it is already built into Vista (and Windows 2008).
So if you want fast logoff and shutdown times in Vista, make sure you don't disable the User Profile Service!