How many times a day do you instruct your users to shut down their PCs to correct a problem? I think most of my problems—around 80 percent—are corrected with a simple reboot. My first day on the job, a user’s PC was acting weird, and I asked her to “properly” shut down her computer. Before I could even blink an eye, she had kicked the power off.

Needless to say, my heart stopped. I quickly realized that “proper shutdown” to my new users meant turning the power off! We all know that Windows loves a proper shutdown. Many problems can be avoided simply by following a shutdown procedure. I quickly began to work on a shutdown procedure that even the most technically challenged user could understand.

Running Windows NT 4.0 and Novell NetWare 4.11
My current configuration uses Novell NetWare 4.11 as the Network Operating System and Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 SP5 as the operating system. This combination produces a problem when the computer is “cold” booted. The error message “Tree or Server cannot be found…” has plagued my users for months.

The ironic thing is that the problem is resolved simply by waiting. The logon service for Windows NT takes some time to load, and generally the Novell Client loads first. Users will attempt to log on because the client is requesting information. However, the NT service has not fully loaded, so the server cannot be found. Try explaining this to users. (I can hardly get them to remember their passwords!)

The three shutdown options
My challenge was either to teach every user the technical details about the login process, or find some way to guide them to avoid the Windows NT and Novell NetWare anomaly. As you may have guessed, I decided to write a procedure that keeps them from powering the PC down unless instructed.

Basically, there are three procedures: daily, complete, and locking the workstation.

  • Daily shutdown. This process should be completed Monday through Thursday. It actually logs the user out of network and Windows NT.
  • Complete shutdown. This method should be used only when the user is told to by someone from IT, on weekends, or when the user is planning to be away from work for an extended time, such as vacation.
  • Locking the workstation. This option has become a pet peeve of our internal audit teams, so I added the section concerning this topic. I have instructed the users to lock their workstations during the day if they expect to be away from the computer for more than 15 minutes at a time.

Flowchart to the rescue!
To make it easy for my end users to select and follow the appropriate shutdown option, I used Visio Professional 5.0c to create the flowchart shown in Figure A, which shows how my users should “properly” tackle each shutdown procedure. Feel free to print this chart for your users!

Figure A
Your users can follow the instructions on this flowchart to shut down Windows NT correctly.

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