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Article ID: 305788 - Last Review: July 15, 2004 - Revision: 1.3

This article was previously published under Q305788

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When Windows shuts down, each running process is given 20 seconds to perform cleanup work by default. If a process does not respond within this time-out period, Windows displays the "Wait, End Task, or Cancel" dialog box for the process, which prompts you to wait for another 20 seconds, stop the process, or cancel the shutdown process.

Prolonging the Time-Out Period

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756  ( ) How to back up and restore the registry in Windows

To prolong this time-out period, you can modify a registry value. The default time-out value (20 seconds) is stored in the WaitToKillAppTimeout value in the following registry key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
This value is expressed in milliseconds. You can use Registry Editor to modify this value and then restart the computer for the change to take effect.

NOTE: In general, it is best to refrain from increasing the shutdown time. For example, if your computer loses power, your uninterruptible power supply (UPS) may not be able to provide backup power for the computer long enough to allow all the processes, as well as the operating system, to shut down properly.

  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
kbhowto kbhowtomaster KB305788
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