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Force Your Computer to Shutdown

Posted on December 1, 2008 by Jared

Shutdown ComputerJust this morning my mother-in-law called to tell me that her laptop wouldn’t turn off. She had tried the obvious stuff: initiating a shutdown through the Start Menu, pressing the power button. Nothing seemed to work. Her laptop was effectively locked up.

There’s a trick to solving this problem and I forget how few people know about it. I’ve yet to see it fail and, if it doesn’t work for you, you’re either being too impatient or something is seriously wrong with your hardware.

Computer won’t shutdown? Use the force!

The trick to forcing your computer to shutdown is simply pressing and holding your computer’s power button for 5 full seconds. Note, this isn’t simply pressing the button and counting to 5, but holding the power button down for five, real seconds. Every modern computer or laptop that I’ve ever seen has this feature built in.

Please keep in mind that you should only do this when absolutely necessary. This is really just like yanking the plug out of the wall. The operating system doesn’t have a chance to tidy up and any unsaved work will be lost. This is a last resort, people.

Now that you’ve gotten your computer to shutdown, you should probably give some thought as to why your computer was locked up in the first place. Sure, it could have been a fluke. But, there is usually a reason behind these sorts of things. For example, some laptops don’t “wake up” from sleep mode like they should, leaving the touch pad and/or keyboard inoperable. Also, new hardware, drivers, or software could interfere with the normal operation of your computer. If you notice the bad behavior after making these sorts of changes, you should consider removing them or searching for an updated version of the driver or software.

If you’ve found that your new wireless mouse or all-in-one printer is getting in the way, and that you’re not able to remove/uninstall them. Boot into safe mode (press F8 during boot up) to get the job done. If you’re still running into a road block, consider doing a system restore.

Got any other tips or suggestions for stubborn computers? Leave a comment for us. Got a question? I’ll help if I can!


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Comments

2 Responses to “Force Your Computer to Shutdown”

  1. James H Pursell on October 6th, 2010 7:53 am

    Ever since Mozilla Firefox was installed on my computer, I can’t get my power management scheme to work reliably. It’s supposed to shut down the computer after 2 min of inactivity and it does, but then it comes right back up again. If I restart the computer, it works correctly for a few times but then reverts to auto repowering again.

  2. Jeanette on June 14th, 2012 3:10 pm

    Brilliant advice and it works!

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