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Long Laptop shutdown times due to Page File size

Posted on 2004-04-05
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Last Modified: 2008-03-17
We have several laptops that are taking an abnormally long time to shut down.  When the shutdown command is given, it logs off normally, closes all windows and displays the message that it is shutting down, which is fine.  It then goes to a blue (background, normal non-error) screen w/o any windows, icons, or messages, and sits for about 60+ seconds while it shuts down.

What we have been able to figure out is that this is related to the Page File on the laptop.  The more memory the laptop has, the longer it takes to shut down (as the Page File is increased in size).  If the Page File is disabled, it shuts down almost instantly, and adjusting the size manually also adjusts the time.  The catch is, our users are power users, and have a ton of memory for a reason - they need it. ;)  We don't want to limit the page file size, as this will hinder performance.

This has been verified on multiple laptops, including a Compaq N410C and a Dell Latitude 840.  Both have 1GB memory, and are running WinXP SP1 with all the latest updates & patches.

Our key user that reported the problem noted that this was not always a problem - it started after he had been using the laptop for several weeks.  no specific update or other event has been attached to the problem.

If this is not able to be changed or remedied, can anyone tell me what exactly is going on - WHY the Page File is being written back & forth on shutdown?  Desktop PCs don't seem to have this issue.

Thank you!
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Question by:khronos
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Author Comment

by:khronos
ID: 10758066
I should note that during the time that the background is sitting w/o message or images, two things of note: 1) I can't bring up any task manager or such (since everything closes as it's shutting down), and 2) the Drive activity LED is constantly on as it's working to shut down during that 60+ seconds.  (This might sound obvious, but making sure all my bases are covered...)
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Expert Comment

by:Da-Bu
ID: 10761241
Hard drives in laptops are slower than the HDs in desktop PCs... most laptop drives run at 4200 RPM to keep heat, sound and power to a minimum, and most desktops run at 7200rpm

have you defragmented your laptop HD, it could help...

bye
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Author Comment

by:khronos
ID: 10761246
Yah, done the full defrag, and disk scan as well.  In particular, it happens on a brand-new freshly imaged PC, so it's not just a matter of defragging.
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Da-Bu earned 250 total points
ID: 10761329
have you checked this web site, specially the part that talks about very long windows shutdown
http://www.aumha.org/win5/a/shtdwnxp.htm
there is something about pagefile...
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Author Comment

by:khronos
ID: 10761441
"Correspondent Graeme J.W. Smith reported a more obscure cause of slow shutdown: In Win XP Professional, the Group Policy Editor has a security option to clear the pagefile at system shutdown. The same setting also forces the hibernation file to be wiped at shutdown. These processes take long enough that users may think that shutdown has hung. To change the setting, click Start | Run, type GPEDIT.MSC, click OK. Drill down to Computer Configuration | Windows Settings | Security Settings | Local Policies | Security Options. In the right pane, find “Shutdown: Clear virtual memory pagefile.” NOTE: Since someone actually has to have set this policy, the problem will be pretty rare, but is worth mentioning. However, Forum participant “roadrunner” reported that the personal security app Privacy Eraser automatically enables “Clear virtual memory pagefile,” and, therefore, may be the cause of a slow shutdown."

That sounds like it - thank you!  I'll test this tomorrow...
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Author Comment

by:khronos
ID: 10765407
The Group Policy was it - thank you!
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