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Control how long Windows waits on shutdown before exiting apps

If you shut down your computer, Windows will not shut down immediately. Instead, you have some time to close running applications and services first. You can control how long Windows waits - and whether or not running applications are automatically closed.

Usually, you shouldn't have to change these, but it can be helpful if you want to force the computer to shut down faster. Some applications may also conflict with these settings during installation, and you may want to reset them to their default values ​​if the shutdown process seems slow.

Change the waiting time for desktop applications

There are three registry settings that control how Windows runs applications when you shut down your computer:

  • WaitToKillAppTimeout: When you shut down your PC, Windows gives open applications 20 seconds to clean and save their data before offering to close them. This value controls how many seconds Windows waits.
  • HungAppTimeout: Windows regards applications as "hanging" if they do not respond within 5 seconds and force a shutdown. This value controls how many seconds Windows waits before considering applications unresponsive.
  • AutoEndTasks: Windows usually shows a "Force Shutdown" Click the button after the number of seconds has expired and ask for your permission to close running applications. If you enable this option, Windows will instead automatically close all applications and exit without your input.

Standard Warning: The Registry Editor is a powerful tool, misuse of which can make your system unstable or even inoperable. This is a pretty straightforward hack. As long as you follow the directions, you shouldn't have any problems. If you've never used it before, read how to use Registry Editor before you begin. Be sure to back up the registry (and your computer!) Before making any changes.

To change these settings, you must use the registry editor. To open it, press Windows + R on your keyboard, type "regedit" and press Enter.

In the left pane of Registry Editor, navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USERControl PanelDesktop

Check whether there are any settings for "WaitToKillAppTimeout", "HungAppTimeout", or "AutoEndTasks" in the right pane. If you don't see them, Windows is using the default settings.

To create one of these settings, right-click the Desktop button in the left pane and choose New> String Value. Call it "WaitToKillAppTimeout", "HungAppTimeout" or "AutoEndTasks" - whichever setting you want to adjust. Repeat this process to add a second, or even all three.

To configure the value, create the string value and double click it. Enter a value in milliseconds. For example, the default value is "20000", which is 20000 milliseconds or 20 seconds. If you want to set the value to 5 seconds, enter "5000".

We recommend not setting this value too low, as the applications need time to clean up. As a rule of thumb, you shouldn't set the time below 2000 or 2 seconds.

To configure the value, create the string and double click on it. Enter a value in milliseconds. For example, the default value is "5000", which is 5000 milliseconds or 5 seconds. If you want to set the value to 3 seconds, enter "3000".

It is not recommended to set this value too low, or Windows will assume that applications will not respond when they do not. As a rule of thumb, you shouldn't set it below 1000 or 1 second.

To configure the value, create the string and double click on it. Set this value to "1" if you want Windows to automatically close programs when you shut down. The default value is "0". This means that Windows does not automatically close programs when it shuts down.

Be sure to save your work every time you run programs from shutting down when you tell Windows to automatically close open programs. You could lose all open work if Windows abruptly forces programs to close on shutdown.

To undo a change, find the,, or values ​​in the right pane. Right click on the option and choose Delete to remove it. Windows uses the default setting instead.

Background services

Windows only provides one registry setting that controls how Windows uses system services in the background when you shut down your computer:

  • WaitToKillServiceTimeout: Windows typically waits 5 seconds for background services to clean and close when you ask your computer to shut down. Some applications may change this value when you install them, giving their background services extra time to clean up. Windows forcibly shuts down the background services after this time. This value controls how many seconds Windows waits for it. Windows will automatically shut down if all services have successfully closed before the timer expires.

To change this setting, you must use the Registry Editor. To open it, press Windows + R on your keyboard, type "regedit" and press Enter.

In the left pane of the Registry Editor, navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControl

Find the WaitToKillServiceTimeout value in the right pane. If you don't see it, right-click the Control button in the left pane, choose New> String Value, and name it "WaitToKillServiceTimeout".

Double-click the value and enter a number of milliseconds. The default is 5000 milliseconds or 5 seconds. To set 20 seconds, enter "20000".

You should not set a value that is too low as this will prevent the background services from shutting down properly. As a rule of thumb, do not set this value below "2000" or 2 seconds.

To undo this change, come back here and double-click Option. Set the default setting to “5000”.