How to Speed Up Your Windows Shutdown Process

Perhaps one of the most annoying things about using Windows is the fact that you have to wait eons for it to shut down when you have to restart. I personally have made a habit of keeping the computer on 24 hours a day, but obviously not everyone can do this. If you want to shut down your computer faster, there are a few ways to do this, some involving the Windows registry. As nasty as it gets, don’t let the Windows shutdown process keep you behind the keyboard when you have other things to do. ┬áLet’s have a look at how you can speed things up along the way, shall we?

Just like in Linux, Windows’ kernel also sends a “kill” signal to all processes to close them before a shutdown. This means that the computer will wait for programs to close before shutting down, allowing them to end seamlessly and save all the data they need to save. Sometimes, this is just outright annoying. If you feel a little daredevil-ish, you can go for a registry hack that reduces the amount of time that Windows waits before asking you whether you want to force a shutdown or just keep waiting for applications to close. Here’s how to achieve that:

  • Open your registry editor: Click your Start menu, search “regedit,” and press “Enter.”
  • Navigate to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control.”
  • Double-click “WaitToKillServiceTimeout.”
  • Edit the value from 12000 (12 seconds) to 5000 (5 seconds), or anything you want to set it to. Remember to add three zeros to the number of seconds you want to wait!
  • Click “OK.” This reduces the time it takes for Windows to prompt you while trying to kill a service. Let’s get to applications.
  • Navigate to “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop.”
  • Double-click “WaitToKillAppTimeout.”
  • Edit the value the same way you edited “WaitToKillServiceTimeout” earlier.

That’s pretty much it. After you click “OK,” your shutdown process has become just a little less annoying and painful. If any of the values do not exist, just create them as string values. You can do this by right-clicking an empty area on the right side of the window, hovering the mouse pointer over “New,” and clicking “String value.”

Windows regedit new string value

Normally, numerical values are stored in “DWORDs,” but this is an exception.

If you’re not running anything utterly important while restarting the computer, you likely can get away with just telling Windows to throw its hat down and just shut down without prompting you to close running applications. Note that if you do this, you will essentially lose any unsaved data from programs you’re using, like Notepad, MS Word, and Photoshop. This can be devastating if you are working on something very important. What you’re going to do now is create a shortcut that leads to a command (normally typed on the command line) that will tell the computer to shut down regardless of what’s open and without any timeout. Let’s get started!

  • Right-click somewhere on your desktop, hover the mouse over “New,” and click “Shortcut.” This gets you to the shortcut wizard.
  • Type
    shutdown.exe -s -t 00 -f

    as the location and click “Next.” Alternatively, if you want to restart the computer, type

    shutdown.exe -s -t 00 -r -f

    instead. The “-r” tells the computer to start again after shutting down.

Windows shortcut to force shutdown

  • Continue following the wizard until you’re finished. It’s all pretty much self-explanatory.

And that’s it! You have your “ultimate shutdown” shortcut.

What method do you prefer? Let us know in the comments section below!