How to Automatically End Tasks While Shutting Down Windows

From time to time, when you try to shut down, restart, or sign out of Windows, you might have seen Windows notifying that an app(s) is preventing Windows from shutting down or restarting. To shut down the system, you have to click on the “Shut down anyway” button. If you don’t click on the button within a set amount of time, Windows will cancel the shutdown action.


Generally, when you shut down or restart your system, Windows tries to gracefully close all the applications automatically. However, when an app is doing something in the background or if there is any unsaved work, it may block Windows from shutting down. This is good for the most part because it gives you a chance to save your work and properly close the application.

But if there is any app that is misusing this feature or if you think you don’t want applications blocking the shutdown or restart process, you can force Windows to close all applications regardless of their state during shutdown, restart, or sign-out process. This article shows you how to do it.

Enable “AutoEndTasks” for Current User

If you want to stop applications from blocking shutting down or restarting your system for the current user, follow the steps below. Do note that any other user on your system will not be affected by the changes you make here. e.g, when needed, the applications can still block other users from shutting down or restarting the system.

Also, since we are going to edit Windows Resgistry, back it up. It helps you restore the registry in case anything bad happens.

1. To open Windows Registry, search for “regedit” in the Start menu and press Enter on your keyboard.


2. In the registry, go to the following location. If you are using Windows 10, copy and paste below the path in the Registry Editor’s address bar and press Enter. You will be taken to the target key instantly.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop

3. Once you are here, right-click on the right panel and select “New” and then “String Value.”


4. Name the String Value as “AutoEndTasks.”


5. Double-click on the newly created value, type “1” in the value data field and click on the “OK” button to save changes.


Restart your system to make the changes take effect. After restarting, Windows will no longer allow apps to block the shutdown, restart, or sign-out process.

If you ever want to revert back, either delete the AutoEndTasks value or change the value data back to “0.”

Enable “AutoEndTasks” for All Users

If you want to automatically close the apps for all users while restarting or shutting down, you can do that, too. However, since you are going to make changes for all the users, you need to have administrative privileges.

1. Search for “regedit” in the Start menu, right-click on it and select “Run as administrator.” This will open Registry Editor with admin rights.

2. Now, go to the following location:

HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop


3. On the right panel right-click and select “New > String Value.” Name the value as “AutoEndTasks” and press Enter to confirm the name.


4. After creating the value, double-click on it to open “Edit Value” window. Type “1” in the value data field and click on the “OK” button to save the changes.


Restart your system. From this point forward, apps won’t block the restart or shutdown process for any user on your system. To revert back, change the value data to “0” or delete the AutoEndTasks value.

Comment below sharing your thoughts and experiences about using the above method to automatically close applications while shutting down and restarting your Windows system.

Vamsi Krishna

Vamsi is a tech and WordPress geek who enjoys writing how-to guides and messing with his computer and software in general. When not writing for MTE, he writes for he shares tips, tricks, and lifehacks on his own blog Stugon.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox