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PDB Helpdesk: More on Shutdown
By Thiravudh Khoman

In the past few months, there have a been a smattering of letters re: the RUNDLL method of shutting down a Windows computer, as elucidated by Wanda Sloan. While this is also my preferred method of shutting down Windows, in practice, the technique is hardly infallible. There are at least 3 instances I know of where it can fail:

  1. In cases where Windows itself is FUBAR'ed (i.e. "fouled up beyond all recognition" or more to the point, "fouled up beyond all repair") . In such cases, the standard "Start", "Shut Down", "Shut Down" sequence often won't work either, and you're left with little choice but to press the reset button to reboot before you can do a clean shutdown.
  2. PC Magazine reports that certain power management settings on certain computers can cause shutdown problems as well. I haven't experienced this problem myself, but I can see how it might happen, especially with ATX machines where total/electrical shutdown can be initiated by software. A useful article to read is: https://www.zdnet.com/pcmag/pctech/content/solutions/oe1804a.htm. Also, check out documents Q136651 and Q145926 in Microsoft's Knowledge Base at https://www.support.microsoft.com. (Note: Type the document #'s in the "My question is:" field).
  3. If you're a Norton CleanSweep user, running RUNDLL usually makes CleanSweep think you're trying to install a program, in which case it will pop up a window and ask you what you want to do. Invariably, you'll be to forced to click something to dismiss the window, clearly something counter-productive to a quick shutdown.

If the RUNDLL method doesn't work for you, don't curse the darkness - simply avail yourself of other some other shutdown utility of which there are many. These can be found at any file repositiory on the web (WinFiles.Com for example). Before I started using RUNDLL, I relied on something called Shutdown Utility v3.0, a freeware program by Kjetil Nygard - and still use it when I run into RUNDLL problems. You can get it from: https://www.zdnet.com/downloads/stories/info/0,,000DHW,.html. Although RUNDLL shuts down faster, Shutdown v3.0 has a LOT more features. Both are free, so choose as you will.

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Postscript: If you want a really quick way to shutdown, assign a short-cut key to either RUNDLL or Shutdown.Exe. After creating a shutdown shortcut on the desktop, right click the shortcut icon, select "Properties", place the mouse cursor in the "Shortcut key" field, and then press some key, for example the letter "S". Doing so will make Ctrl-Alt-S run the shutdown shortcut.

Granted Ctrl-Alt-S (apparently, it must be some combination of Ctrl-Alt-) isn't exactly the most convenient keystroke combination you can press, but it beats having to use a mouse. For example, I can shutdown a computer, standing up 2 feet away from it (e.g. when someone forgets to turn off their computer or when I'm "on the run"). The alternative would be bend over or sit down, grab the mouse, position it at the shortcut icon and double click. Needless to say, you have the choice of doing EITHER.

Copyright © 2000, Thiravudh Khoman