Shut Down an XP System That Won't Shut Down Itself

Reader Doug wrote to tell me of this problem with his Windows XP machine:

"When I attempt to turn off my computer, it will not power down all the way. Instead, it goes to the Windows XP logo that says, 'It is now safe to turn off computer.' Other PCs, including my wife's, turn off altogether. How do I eliminate this extra step?"

You didn't tell me the age of your machine, but I'm betting it's an older model. For starters, the next time you boot your system, hop into the BIOS settings and look for something called (or related to) Advanced Power Management. It needs to be enabled.

That step alone may solve your problem. If not, try this:

Look for an APM tab in your Power Options window, then make sure the proper setting is enabled.
1. Click Start, Control Panel, Power Options. (If you don't see Power Options, click Switch to Classic View.)

2. Click the APM tab. (Don't have one? See below.)

3. Select Enable Advanced Power Management Support, then click OK.

Now try to turn off your PC. If that didn't do the trick, you need to verify that your PC is ACPI-compliant (meaning it supports Advanced Configuration and Power Interface standards), and/or look for wayward device drivers that might be messing with the shutdown sequence.

Microsoft has a detailed support page devoted to this issue, so I won't reproduce all the steps here. One of these remedies should resolve your problem. If not, let me know!

In the meantime, if anyone else has a hassle that needs solving, send the details to me at hasslefree@pcworld.com. I can't promise a response, but I'll do my best to address your problem right here in this space.

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