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November 6, 2015

Windows is Waiting . . .

Filed under: Main — Tags: , , — admin @ 12:01 am

You need to shutdown or restart your PC, but there it is! That same old message. Windows is waiting to shutdown a program. What’s up?

Right away, it’s a good thing that Windows waits on those programs. The message, I confess, is confusing because it doesn’t explain fully what’s going on. Most of the time, you can just wait and the situation resolves itself.

First, the warning appears whenever Windows tries to shutdown or restart and you haven’t yet saved something. That’s a good thing. Generally, the warning mentions this situation: “Hey! Do you want to shutdown/restart when you haven’t yet saved your stuff?” You can reply accordingly.

Second, the warning appears for any program that hasn’t saved its own data to storage. For example, a background program that writes information to a log, may not have written that final tidbit. If so, Windows urges the program to do so, but for some reason the program may linger. That’s when you see those “Background process is waiting” and are given the option to kill it off to expedite the shutdown/restart.

In the second instance, I generally wait. Only a few times have I bothered to kill off the background process because either I’m impatient or I really need to shutdown, such as when I need to board the plane and don’t want to be one of those dorks who walks to his seat with an open laptop.

If you’re in doubt, check the program name. If it’s invisible, then cool: Shut it down. Otherwise, if you know the program is something that may contain data you don’t want to lose, then wait.

For example, the other day Google Drive was the stubborn beast that wouldn’t let me shut down. I know I’d just used Google Drive to save some information, so I let it quit.

Technically speaking, what’s going on is that Windows is waiting for the disk cache to be flushed. Internally, information isn’t always written directly to storage. Especially for tiny chunks of info, the operating system may linger, holding the data in memory (the cache) until a worthy amount stocks up. Only then is the data written to mass storage.

If the waiting for a program to shutdown becomes chronic, look for an update to that software: Open the program and see if it has any options to check for a newer version. Or visit the developer’s website to see if a newer version isn’t available. Check the software description to see whether or not shutdown bugs have been addressed.

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