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Version 10.10 — Last Updated May 9, 2005
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[The following information comes from many sources, and incorporates the input of many individuals in the Microsoft public news groups, particularly several MS-MVPs in the Desktop Systems section. Working on the Win98 SE shutdown problem has been a true online community effort. Please note that you use the information given below only at your own risk — I’m not personally able to verify, in advance, the consequences of any action on every computer of every type used by every user. — Jim Eshelman]

There is a widespread shutdown bug with WINDOWS 98 SECOND EDITION. The problem does not affect a majority, or even significant minority, of Win98 SE computers, but is sufficiently widespread that it remains a “hot topic” three years later.

As with other Windows shutdown problems, this can be caused by many factors including, but not limited to: a damaged exit sound file; a background program that will not close out properly; incorrectly configured or damaged hardware (especially incompatible APM or ACPI power management settings); an outdated BIOS, conflicting programs, or an incompatible, damaged, or conflicting device driver.

In August, 1999, a couple of months after the problem emerged, Microsoft released a patch for this problem. This Win98 SE Shutdown Patch has had several “fine tuning” updates since. In the time since The Patch was released, is has solved the shutdown problem for most people with the problem (my estimate is about 80%). For others, though, it did not solve the problem. Here are some of the issues that appear to be involved and how one might address them:

I recommend the following
in troubleshooting
Windows 98 SE shutdown problems:

  1. First, try the non-controversial fixes given below (which include some of the approaches people were trying, and finding successful, before The Patch came out).
  2. If they do not work, next consider that this might be a more general Windows shutdown problem, such as may have occurred before Win98 SE; for this, see the general Windows shutdown troubleshooter page for troubleshooting and corrective steps.
  3. If these steps also do not solve the problem, then install The Patch. (You can download The Patch from Microsoft’s Corporate Download Site or from this direct link.)
  4. Finally, if none of these steps work, they you might consider trying the more controversial approaches listed below, which people were trying (and finding successful) before The Patch came out.

This problem is complex. There is no single thing that can be identified as the crux of the matter, though some causes were central enough to produce a higher percentage of fixes. A sampling of the most useful and interesting of these is given below.


NOTE: The Patch incorporated this idea by permanently disabling Fast Shutdown, and removing the option to enable it from the MSCONFIG program. That is, it is permanently turned off by The Patch!

Launch MSCONFIG. Click Advanced. Place a check mark in the box next to “Disable fast shutdown.” (NOTE: If the box is already marked, skip this step.) Click OK, then OK again. Test Windows shut down by restarting the computer. (For proper troubleshooting, click Start | Shut Down | Restart | OK. Give Windows three minutes to complete the process before concluding that it is hung. This same procedure is referred to in the following steps as, “Test Windows shut down.”)

If you have already applied the Win98 SE shutdown Patch, you will not have the option to disable Fast Shutdown. In theory, it is already disabled. However, sometimes it does not get disabled successfully. You can check and correct this by ensuring that FastReboot=0 in the following Registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Shutdown. You can guarantee that it is set correctly by downloading and executing the No FastShutdown registry patch.

Disabling fast shutdown may solve the problem; but if it doesn’t, go on to the next step.

NOTE: Enabling Fast Shutdown in Win98 SE, on most (unpatched) machines, will cause the computer to restart when shutdown is selected, rather than shut down. This is not by design, but is pretty predictable and standard in Win98 SE. FYI. NOTE: This problem may exist on Win98 (Original Edition) if your computer uses Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) and the Fast Shutdown feature is disabled. To obtain a supported fix for this problem from Microsoft, see the article “Computer Stops Responding When You Try to Shut It Down.”


Check with your computer or BIOS manufacturer to see if there are any BIOS updates available for your system, and install them. If your BIOS is out of date,Win98 SE may hang while attempting to shut down, or may restart instead of shut down. This is because Win98 SE includes updates for Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI), OnNow, and Advanced Power Management (APM) and may require the latest BIOS upgrade.) (For example, this problem is known to exist with the Intel AL440LX motherboard using Phoenix BIOS version P07. A new BIOS version, P12 or later, is needed. Similar problems occur with a D-Link DFE 530TX network adapter installed; the solution is to obtain and install an updated driver. Contact D-Link.)

You can test those settings that determine how the BIOS interacts with Win98 SE during startup and shutdown by disabling the NVRAM/ESCD updates feature: Right-click on My Computer, click Properties, click the Device Manager tab, double-click System Devices, click Plug and Play BIOS, and on the Settings tab click to select the “Disable NVRAM/ESCD Updates” check box on the Settings tab. Click OK. Restart the computer, then test Windows shutdown.

Several distinct causes of shutdown problems in Win98 SE are ultimately, the result of BIOS problems. The final solution for these problems will be a BIOS upgrade. There may, however, be interim solutions (helpful for diagnosis, and as temporary workarounds.) For example, some shutdown problems are solved by disabling the “Resume on Ring and LAN” BIOS feature.

If a BIOS problem is the likely issue for your computer, you should contact your computer manufacturer for information about a possible BIOS upgrade. If you are not experienced in upgrading your computer’s BIOS, you may wish to have this done by a professional.

By the way, “newer” doesn’t always mean “better.” With a BIOS or device drivers, it’s supposed to, but you can’t always count on it. Sometimes a new BIOS or driver version will introduce a bug or compatibility. If you develop a shutdown problem soon after such an upgrade, roll back to the earlier version. (Thanks to Ran Prieur for the reminder!)


Where a BIOS update does not solve the problem, or where a user is unwilling or unable to obtain a BIOS update, test for Plug-and-Play issues. You can temporarily disable Plug-and-Play as follows: Reboot the computer. Bring up the boot menu. Select “Command Prompt Only.” At the C> prompt, type:

cd \windows\system

Restart the computer. Test Windows shutdown. If the computer shuts down correctly, reverse the foregoing to restore the BIOS.VXD file to avoid other problems. You may, however, want to disable Plug-and-Play more permanently, pending a BIOS upgrade. This is done by reinstalling Windows using the following command line switch:

setup /p i (click here for more details on Setup’s command line switches)

This switch tells Setup not to report the existence of a Plug and Play BIOS. It also disables ACPI support. It is useful on computers that have a Plug-and-Play BIOS that is not reported in the MACHINE.INF file. Microsoft recommends this approach as the preferred alternative to the CONFIGMG.VXD or other solutions given below. (Of course, if you do not wish to begin with a reinstallation of Windows, then you may wish to try some of the solutions below first — your choice, as always.) If you later update the BIOS of your computer, running setup /p j will reverse this to enable the Plug-and-Play and ACPI functionality once more. NOTE: Either of these Windows installations can be done atop an existing version. There will, generally, be no need to do a clean install in order to apply these fixes.


Microsoft has found that the shutdown problem can occur if your video adapter requires an interrupt request (IRQ) in MS-DOS mode, but your computer’s BIOS does not assign one to it. Upgrading the BIOS may be an important early step in solving the problem. MS advises one of the following resolutions be used:


If a network card is installed in the computer, do the following: Remove the network in Device Manager. Shut down Windows. Physically remove the network card. Restart Windows. Shut down Windows (observe whether it shuts down normally). Reinstall the network card. Restart Windows and let it detect the card as new hardware.

NDIS Intermediate Drivers

Use of networking software implemented as an NDIS intermediate driver can cause the system to hang during shutdown (and also during startup). This is due to a known bug in Win98 SE that causes the operating system to inappropriately compete with the driver code, forcing a “deadlock” condition that hangs Windows. A patch is available from Microsoft to fix this bug: See the MS Knowledge Base article, Windows 98 SE Problems with NDIS Intermediate Drivers. (Thanks to Timothy Ngau for digging this one up!)

Realtek Network Cards Problems (Controversial)

Don Pomeroy has reported a number of Win98 SE shutdown problems on machines with Realtek network cards using the 8029AS chipset. He has proposed a controversial solution which has worked on the many machines where he has applied it. His solution is to replace the drivers for the network card with the original (pre-SE) Windows 98 version (4.10.1998) drivers, using the following table.

File Name Win98 SE Version Win 98 Original Version
NDIS.VXD 4.10.2222 4.10.1998
RTL8029.SYS same
VTDI.386 4.10.1998 same
VIP.386 4.10.2223 4.10.1998
VTCP.386 4.10.2222 4.10.1998
VDHCP.386 4.10.2161 4.10.1726
VNBT.386 4.10.2148 4.10.1719
VREDIR.VXD 4.10.2222 4.10.1998
VSERVER.VXD 4.10.2222 4.10.1998

The reason I have characterized this as controversial is that it is capable of producing unpredictable side-effects, or even known adverse side-effects.

For example, as MS-MVP Richard G. Harper reports, there are known bugs (corruption of packets sent over the network) with the 4.10.1998 Realtek drivers; Richard prudently recommends that the drivers on the Realtek website should be used instead. On the other hand, the drivers available from Realtek return the shutdown problem to computers where the above changes removed that problem.

A further concern is that part of what this recommended fix does is revert a portion of the Win98 SE power management code to the Win98 (original) version, which is consistent with some other avenues of repair (most, but not all, of the SE shutdown problems reduce to power management issues), but could also bring unsuspected problems. Mixing bits and pieces of different OS versions is generally not recommended.

The underlying problem is that Realtek has not yet produced drivers to work for Win98 SE. The individual user must, therefore, decide which set to use, knowing that there are potential problems with the above apparent fix; or whether to switch away from the Realtek card, or away from Win98 SE.


On several Win98 SE machines, disabling Advanced Power Management (APM) and enabling Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) has solved the problem. Sometimes this solution was worked on its own; in other cases it has worked only in combination with other actions; and in still others it has not worked at all.

Because power management issues are at the root of such a high percentage of these shutdown problems, it makes sense to troubleshoot your power management functionality per se. Microsoft has provided an excellent tool for this, PMTShoot, or Power Management Troubleshooter. The latest version (which is much better than the one shipped with Windows) can be downloaded here.


Still another ACPI-based shutdown problem for Win98 SE can occur after you try to manually go into Standby mode (that is, by clicking Start | Shutdown | Standby). In this scenario, attempting this produces an error message:

Your computer cannot be suspended at this time. A program or driver you have running may be preventing this action. Close all programs, and then try again.

Thereafter, Windows hangs when you attempt shutdown. This is a bug in Win98 SE. What happens is that the suspend operation begins and locks some ACPI resources. When it fails to suspend, these are not unlocked, and this prevents Windows from shutting down correctly. Microsoft has a supported fix for this bug. For information on obtaining this patch from them, see MSKB 253711.

(Japanese Windows only)

A computer using APM (rather than ACPI) power management, with at least one battery installed, and running a Japanese version of Windows 98 SE may hang at shutdown. This is a bug for which Microsoft has a fix.

The underlying problem is that a deferred procedure call routine in BATTC.SYS is seeks battery status every 20 seconds. This procedure invokes a worker thread, which eventually issues an Interrupt 15h call. If the worker thread is invoked while the computer is shutting down, a deadlock may occur and the computer hangs.

Instructions for obtaining the patch for this problem from Microsoft can be found in MSKB 246817.


IRQ steering and device enumeration issues may be cause of these shutdown problems. This is due to a BIOS that is not fully compliant, so that the full solution, if this is the problem, is a BIOS upgrade.

To test and temporarily resolve the issue, do the following: Right click on My Computer and select Properties. Click the Device Manager tab. Click “View Devices by type” and open “System Devices” found at the bottom of the device tree. Highlight “PCI bus” and click on the Properties button. On the IRQ Steering tab, clear the check box for “Use IRQ Steering.”

As a precaution, note how you found these settings before you attempt to change them. FIRST try changing the Device Enumeration under the ‘Settings’ tab from Hardware to Bios. If this does not solve the problem, then experiment with enabling or disabling all the combinations of possible settings to try to get the desired results. (One popular variation is to clear the checkmark, on the IRQ Steering tab, from the last box, “Get IRQ Table From Real Mode PCIBIOS 2.1 Call.”) Make sure you do a full reboot after every change while testing. NOTE: The Patch addressed this exact issue by replacing PCI-related components of the operating system.


At times, the BIOS setting for PnP Aware OS (a setting you may or may not have), also has a bearing on these settings. Bill Snyder has reported that the shutdown problem in SE, as well as several IRQ conflicts he was experiencing, were resolved by the following steps (which cause the computer to pretend that Win 98 SE is not a Plug-and-Play operating system):

CONFIGMG.VXD (Controversial)

NOTE: The following is VERY controversial. As an interim fix, this one change fixed more machines (pre-Patch) than everything else put together. On the other hand, Microsoft felt (and presumably feels) so strongly about NOT using this approach that the installation routine for The Patch detects whether you have applied it and UN-DOES IT. Make your own decisions, of course, but please weigh these points carefully when doing so.

Clayton Burton has found that replacing the Win98 SE copy of CONFIGMG.VXD with the copy from the pre-SE (original) version of Win98 will solve the underlying problem. Several people have reported success with this approach. If this approach is used, the file should be extracted to the C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\VMM32 folder. (CONFIGMG.VXD is the Windows configuration manager virtual device. The Win98 Original Edition copy will be version 4.10.1998, 115,665 bytes in size. The Win98 SE copy will be version 4.10.2222, 125,057 bytes in size.)


Len Mattix found that, on two computers, if he shut down with the mouse he has the hangs, but if he shuts down with Alt+F4 he doesn’t. (Notice this avoids both the mouse and the Start Menu.) NOTE: This may be an indirect form of the PCI issue discussed above, and not a separate issue by itself. This solution also suggests that perhaps shutting down with some other method avoiding the Start Menu might work, such as creating a shortcut with the command line: C:\WINDOWS\RUNDLL32.EXE user,exitwindows


Many users have found that using a desktop shutdown shortcut will allow them to shutdown Win98 SE (and sometimes other versions of Windows) when no other solution works. (Click here for an article on how to do that.) Correspondent Chris Nelson has gone so far as to state that he has never seen this fail in Win98 SE. Others have said nearly the same thing. It’s worth a try!


Derek Schaefer wrote me that when The Patch failed to solve the shutdown problem (PIII-600 on a GVC motherboard with a VIA chipset), he was eventually able to solve the problem by moving his Zip drive from the primary to the secondary IDE port.


At least one person has solved this problem by enabling Fast Shutdown from the disabled default, shutting down and discovering this didn’t work (causing the computer to restart instead of shut down), and then enabling Fast Shutdown again. This time, it worked and the computer shut down properly. NOTE: Remember, if you have installed The Patch, as we recommend, Fast Shutdown is no longer an option on your computer, making this tip irrelevant (or at least impractical!).


In most cases, if ScanDisk runs at restart of the computer, it means that Windows did not shut down correctly. It may have appeared to shut down correctly but, in fact, does not finish all of its internal shutdown processes. It is important to know whether or not this final shutdown actually occurred; and the best method is probably the boot log method described here.

Many such cases, resistant to other resolution, turn out to be hardware problems: This happens with some IDE hard drives when, during the shutdown process, virtual cache contents are written to the hard drive’s onboard cache, but not to the drive itself. This data is lost from the cache when the computer powers down. The computer correctly interprets this as a failed shutdown and runs ScanDisk on the next startup. The fix for this is the Windows IDE Hard Drive Cache package from Windows Update, described here.

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