Faster PC Shutdown - Windows Registry Tweak

If you're finding your PC hangs, delays, or pauses for a long time during shutdown, you can use the following registry tweak to speed up the process.

Important: If you are having shutdown problems with Windows 10, 8, 7 or an older edition - the latest PC optimizing software solutions have extensive repair functionality that can solve those problems easily. You'll also improve overall system speed and it will help to continually keep your PC in a perfectly stable state, ending the possibility of future problems.

Waiting for Shutdown. On the positive side, getting Windows to do a fast shutdown can shave seconds off of the annoying delay that seems like waiting forever for shutdown. However, it’s important to note that any registry tweak carries some danger with it and should always be approached with oodles of caution. Forcing a faster PC shutdown can cause a few problems. This may include prematurely ending a program or when your PC system performs system closing data writes to your hard drive, possibly causing the active file to become corrupt. As always with registry tweaks, it’s a risk versus reward situation and only you can make the final decision.

Solving Slow PC Shutdown Issues

If your PC never experienced slow shutdown before, you may have recently installed a program that runs in the background, or just has a poor closure routine. You can view running processes on your PC with the built-in Windows Task Manager as described in our “Easy Step Guide to Speed Up Your PC”.

Another possibility would be spyware, adware, or even a virus injected into your PC without your knowledge. The first step to solve your slow shutdown problem is to check your PC for these problems with your anti-virus program.

Only after you have exhausted all of those possibilities, you may want to consider the registry tweak to speed up shutdown as detailed below.

RegEdit Registry Tweak to Shutdown Windows 7 Faster

WARNING: Before you begin, it’s highly advisable to read our other articles, “Registry Tweaks Warning” and “How to Backup Windows Registry“.

This registry tweak may fix the slow shutdown problem you’re currently having, but be forewarned that it is going against the default Windows setting that delays shutdown for a reason. Sure, the default setting may be overly safe and you can reduce it to a lower delay for faster shutdowns, usually without problems. however, over time, in the next few days, months, or years – it may eventually shutdown your PC earlier than expected during an important close event and may cause corruption.

Faster Shutdown Tweak.


Open RegEdit and Navigate to the Control Location

Type “RegEdit” in your Windows search box (Start button – lower left of your screen) and either hit the “Enter” key or select RegEdit from the list.

TIP: You can “left-click drag” the RegEdit listing to the Windows logo (Start – lower left) and release to pin a shortcut in your Start Menu for easy access.

To navigate to the registry location we need, please keep double-clicking on the “folders” until you arrive at the final location. You will be starting at “Computer” and end by opening “Control” as shown below…

Computer / HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE / SYSTEM / CurrentControlSet / Control /

OK, don’t change anything yet. In the next step, we will save our position as a favorite in case there’s problems in the future.


Open Favorites within the registry editor

It’s best to use the Favorites feature of RegEdit to save the default settings if you want to dial back the tweaks. Click the “Favorites” tab within RegEdit and then click on “Add to Favorites…”, which will bring up a box. Follow the next step to create an easy to remember favorite or as I like to call it, a registry bookmark.


Save the Default Registry Values with RegEdit Favorites

Just name your favorite the actual Key-String=Default value so it will be easy to undo the registry tweak. I named the favorite “Control-WaitTo=20000″ because “Control” is the key name or folder, “WaitTo” is my shortened version of the string name “WaitToKillServiceTimeout”, and “=20000″ is the safe default value I would re-enter if the tweak doesn't work out for me. Of course, after your Favorite is saved by clicking “OK”, you can simply select it from the list at anytime to quickly open the saved location within RegEdit.


Apply the Faster Shutdown Registry Tweak

With continual Windows updates and differing software and hardware configurations for each PC, we can not say for sure this tweak will work for you or not – proceed at your own risk. While I applied this tweak on my Windows 7 system, it should also work with Windows Vista and Windows XP.

Make sure you’re still at…

Computer / HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE / SYSTEM / CurrentControlSet / Control /

Now go down the list in the right pane until you find the following string “WaitToKillServiceTimeout“.

Double-click on it and the “Edit String” box will appear. My default value was 20000 which equates to 20 seconds. You can select a lower number to reduce shutdown times, but let’s be cautious here and discuss this a little further before changing anything.

The lowest possible value is 1000 (1 second) BUT that would not be advisable as it will not give enough time for Windows to safely close all programs. Sure it may work most times, but just one bad event of losing data from a program trying to save, or Windows trying to write to the registry, can lead to disaster.

Since my default value is 20000 (20 seconds), I would consider 10000 (10 seconds) quite a reduction in shutdown times. That’s 50% faster and you would have minimal risk compared to the recommendations I have seen online stating 1000 to 5000 (1 to 5 seconds). I certainly do NOT recommend the lowest allowed value of 1000 (1 second). Anything below 10000 (10 seconds) I would consider extremely risky as it may eventually leave your PC in an unbootable state – not really worth it. Remember, even deviating from the default value of 20000 (20 seconds on my PC) to any lower number may include some risk. I would expect there to be a very minimal risk at 15000 (15 seconds) but I am not even willing to risk that as stated below.

Note: I only did this tweak temporarily on my PC for the sake of this post, and then reverted back to the default level, which was 20000 (20 seconds) on my Windows 7 computer. I like to keep changes to the registry minimal. I am currently enjoying the much safer, automated PC tweaking route via an optimizer.

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