WIN 98 Shut-off Problems

My associate has Windows 98 installed on his computer. He does a bit of word processing, email, web-browsing, etc. His children play computer games, listen to music, etc.

Now a problem has come up in that when he “logs out” from Windows 98, everything initially appears normal, but then the computer hangs at the “Turning off Windows 98 now” screen. (Well, he has the Chinese version, so that is a rough translation of what that last screen says.)

It just hangs there, and doesn’t shut down. Could anyone suggest a remedy to this problem? To my knowledge he has a registered legal copy of Windows 98.

Is there a simple fix for this kind of problem? Perhaps some secondary file has become corrupted? He has been using Norton Anti-Virus, so he assumes that the computer is not infected.

A day or two ago he did a complete disc scan on C: drive, but no problems were found.

What are the advantages of a so-called “re-installation”? Would that effect the files currently on the hard-drive?


This is a very common problem, especially with Windows 98. Whenever this happens to me, I just shut off the computer manually using the power button. The next time you turn on the computer, Windows will then run Scandisk. This is just a routine check whenever the computer doesn’t shut down properly, and should not be alarming.

I’m sure there is probably a reason why Windows “hangs” like that, but it’s nothing to be worried about. Just turn it off manually, and don’t worry about it.

I forgot one last thing, I’ve never had a file corrupted because of this. Reinstalling Windows would likely not fix the problem either, so just tell your friend to live with it, and be glad that it’s nothing worse.

I’ve had that with just about every Windoze system I’ve ever used. Windows tries to close down all the processes its running before shutting itself down and turning the computer off.
Problem is that sometimes Windows hasn’t been managing the background processes properly and they hang when it tries to terminate them. When this happens, windows hangs too.
The unfortunate thing is that Windows never tells you what the problem processes are so you can fix the problem … you just have to force a power off instead and hope that they won’t hang next time.
Windows will run scandisk because it didn’t shut down normally at the end of the previous session – not because there is something wrong with the hard disk.

If it’s a legal copy - the Windows update/service pack may have the fix in place.
If not try searching the forums on the microsoft site for the patch.
A lot of these problems stem from the power management area - so switcg off all power management -screen savers etc - worked for me.

Generally this kind of problem is caused by a driver or application not closing correctly.

Like the previous posts, this is not a problem and if you power off it will cause no problems. A scan disk may or may not occur, either way it is not really needed and can be cancelled or you can disbale it in windows, un tick the disable scandisk after bad shutdown.

It would take too long to find out the problem but reinstalling would correct the problem (But only with trial and error) Installing each driver individually before you restart and then with the applications.

One more questions, you haven’t installed any new components or programs recently have you? Maybe some updates?

Hi Richard:

Tell your friend to close all the applications that appear on the taskbar in ther bottom right side then press Crtl+Alt+Del, it’ll show you other programs are still running,
just select them and press end task, then try shutting down
the computer, this should work

If the PC is powerful enough, I’d suggest to upgrade to Win2k which is more stable and faster to shutdown


34261 bugs to squash

Downloaded a patch to squash a bug

34266 bugs left to squash…



In your experience, is Win2k really faster in shutting down than Win98? I have both OSs at home, and I notice that Win98 shuts down considerably faster than Win2k. Of course, that’s assuming that Win98 doesn’t hang. :wink: Also, Win98 boots up much faster than Win2k.

I still prefer Win2k, though. Unfortunately I have to use Win98 at work.

Considering myself as a power user (in terms of different applications) and being forced using MS products there isn’t any Windows since 3.1 I haven’t managed to crash, including XP.
However the latter is the most stable so far and quite fast while booting and shutting down.

As mentioned above some program or process hangs, press CTLR-ALT-DEL to call up the task manager just before shutting down (i.e. all applications closed manually) and look for any suspicious tasks still running.
Terminate it manually if you can figure which one before requesting a shut-down and if necessary re-install or remove the application / program / driver.

Oh, the biggest offender (slow-down) is MS Outlook. Thanks, Bill!

It depends on what kind of machine you have, if you have an antique box, then definitely Win98 is better than having Win2k, but if you have a powerful machine then I’d recommend using 2k instead

The start and shutdown time will be based on how many applications you need to load/close

So I suggest to close permanently those programs that by default appears in your taskbar that you don’t frequently use


Hartzell - Does your friend defragment his hard disks regularly? If not, that might solve the problem. It goes a bit faster if you delete all the temporary internet files in the browser cache first. (Can be done via “tools” in the browser.) Sorry if that’s too basic and obvious - some people never do it. Another good thing to do is run a free program called Ad-Aware to try and clear out some sneaky advertising software that might be taking up resources - programs like Gator and Bonzi Buddy - bad news!

thanks Juba … and Comet Cursor … what a piece of shit!!! And what a hassle to get rid of. Why does Micros**t leave such gaping security holes in its software that just about anything off the internet can be downloaded, executed and installed without even ASKING the user?

Is this all part of Gates’ master plan?

There is a long way and a short way around this. Generally speaking this is related to power management problems either within windows itself, or settings in the BIOS, or incompatability of the BIOS with updated power management features.

As mentioned previously, switching the computer off at this stage will not corrupt files. This is because windows has essentially closed all user files by the time it gets to this stage. One option is to instead of “shutting down” to reboot into MS Dos. Most computers I have come across with this problem will re-boot, just not shut down. When the DOS prompt appears after rebooting, switch the machine off. The Graphical User Interface will not have loaded at this stage, and your profile (if any) and certain other programs will not have started running. I have been using this method at a client’s office, and have not experienced any problems with the machine.

Your associate may like to consider a dual boot system with Win98 (for mucking about on, games etc) and Win2k (for serious stuff) on the same system. Win2k is very stable - I have had it on this machine (and I have a lot of software on - including SQL Server) since it came out and it has only blue screened once. And my machine is ancient.

[color=darkred]The Microsoft Knowledge Base provides information regarding the Windows 98, 2nd edition shutdown problem. I know of many people who have had this problem, including myself. Either click on the following link: … us;Q238096
or, if necessary, copy/paste it into the address line. I hope this article provides the information you require to stop the hanging.[/color]

This problem plauges all versions of M$ Windows. If you care to try a million different things and have none of them work, please consult the microsoft knowledge base where a million bugs are cataloged, but the remaining billion aren’t.

Many useless programs install themselves to run automatically every time you turn on your machine. They slow startup and slow down the system, consume resources, and increase the chances of crashes. if you go to the start menu and select ‘run’ and type msconfig, you will be able to see all the useless startup processes that have been added to your machine. Most, but not all, of the processes can be safely unchecked, disabling them at the next start up. [Processes like anti-virus software should be kept]. This may cure the shutdown problem. It should also speed up the system and prevent other crashes. I did it every couple of months on 98.

If the machine still won’t shut down, you can download a free utility at that will force a shutdown without waiting for all the useless processes to kindly terminate.

I used to have the hanging shutdown problem, but no longer have it. I think (it’s been over a year…) that the Windows Updates took care of my problem. Hmmm, mabye it was disabling power management. Then again, I also re-installed Windows (just booted off the Win98 CDROM) which I remember clearing up some problems. I didn’t lose any files; the install just copied files into the Windows dir. (but I would recommend backing up important data 1st). It also didn’t seem to affect any printer/LAN/firewire/etc. drivers (i.e. my computer behaved like normal, only with a few less problems!).

One thing that I didn’t see anyone suggest is the System File Checker to check for altered/corrupt files:
Start\Run Open: SFC

Below is a summary of what people have already suggested along with detailed how-to instructions.
These are things that EVERYONE should do to keep their computer (using Win98 at least) running smoothly.

First, I can’t stress the importance of using a virus program with up-to-date virus definitions. AVG seems to be a fine free one that you can download from
The Klez viruses have been quite active lately (well, I’ve been getting infected attachments lately), as is a new, more dangerous W32.Bugbear@mm which can capture your keystrokes, thus passwords, credit card info, etc. as well as allowing a hacker access to your computer.

You should also have at least 128 MB of RAM. Of course 256 or 512 wouldn’t hurt! Go to Start\Settings\Control Panel
At the bottom of the General Tab you’ll see how much RAM your computer has.
If you only have 64 MB add you should add 128MB or 256MB (but yes, adding just 64MB would also help, though I’m not sure they even sell that anymore…).

Win98 tips

o Run Windows Update
There is usually a shortcut in the Start menu
If not you can find it on the Tools menu of IE (Internet Explorer)
Choose Product Updates
-> Make sure that Windows critical updates are installed.
These are patches for security vulnerabilities; they’re very important
Your IE should be at least at 5.5 SP2 (Service Pack 2) w/128 bit encryption (cipher strength).
Use Help\About to check the version & cipher strength
I use IE ver. 6 SP1 & recommend it (just get the latest version)
-> Get the latest DirectX drivers – that can clear up some prob.s
-> Note: In INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE SUPPORT you can find the Chinese Language IME’s
(Input Method Editor) so you can input Chinese in MS programs (Word, MSN Messenger, etc.).
They only allow for zhuyin fu hao (bo-po-mo-fo) input for traditional char.s. If you use pinyin
you’ll get simplified char.s. The pinyin input is well done – it picks the most common char.s. automatically
even if you don’t enter tones (if it’s not the one u want, just backspace to get a list to choose from).
E.g. “nihaoma?” is all u need to type to get the right char.s. To get trad char’s you have to input using
bo-po-mo-fo w/ tone marks, & choose each char so it’s considerably more tedious.
I know Chinese Win98 (& I’m guessing Win2000/XP, regardless of English/Chinese) have the smart input
for Traditional Char.s as well (but I’m not sure if u can use pinyin to get trad. char.s).

o Defrag(ment) your hard disk(s)
Start\Programs\Accessories\System Tools\Disk Defragmenter
Note: You’ll need to close all programs & not use your computer until Defrag finishes
Note: If it keeps starting over try closing other programs running in the background:
Ctrl-Alt-Del and End Task for everything but Explorer
If you don’t have this done automatically (Task Scheduler in the System Tray), I’d recommend
doing it manually once a week.

o Scan your hard drive for errors
Start\Programs\Accessories\System Tools\ScanDisk
Choose the Thorough option if you can’t remember the last time you did it.
Note: When ScanDisk runs after you’ve had a crash in Windows & restarted your
computer by pushing the button, it doesn’t check for bad blocks on the disk
Note: This may take hours :frowning: but doesn’t need to be done very often & can be scheduled
to run while you are sleeping using the Task Scheduler on the System Tray :-).

o Delete temporary files
Open a (Windows) Explorer (right click on Start Menu\Explorer)
Go to C:\Windows\Temp and delete all the files & folders there

o Delete temporary internet files and cookies
IE\Tools\Internet Options
In the General Tab - Delete Cookies & Delete Files
Note 1: You can browse by clicking on Settings
Note 2: Be aware that some of the cookies store info for logging in to web sites,
so if you delete all cookies, you may have to type id’s & passwords that
you didn


Thanks for posting all that information. The linformation about disabling start up programs was especially useful for me. :smiley:

I just added some things that didn’t paste correctly to the above post, “Re: Try SFC & Win98 tips”, in the Windows Update section, so you might want to read that part again.

o You should have IE v. 6 SP1 (at least IE v. 5.5 SP2)
o Update DirectX drivers
o Chinese language input

I also added a note about how long a thorough scan disk can take, & a recommendation to have at least 128MB RAM when using Win98.

Sorry about the readability (aside from style ;-), but I couldn’t get my post to take whitespaces (spaces, tabs, newlines, etc.). Has that happened to anyone else?

Use Linux… No more MSFT headaches…

Hi - I just live with it - Your windows 98 just crashed like so many times before - just wait while we check your disks:))))