Tech Tip: Speed up application shutdowns

No matter how quick and reliable their systems are, users are always complaining about waiting a few seconds for an application to shut down—how quickly they've forgotten the days of DOS.

Of course, admins can get impatient with this stuff too. The wait for some applications to shut down, particularly some 16-bit legacy apps, can seem interminable. Who has time for that?

However, you can speed things up with a quick registry edit. Follow these steps:

  1. Open the Registry Editor (Regedt32).
  2. Navigate to HKEY_USER\YourUserId\Control Panel\Desktop.
  3. Add the AutoEndTasks (REG_SZ) value. If you set this to 1, the system will kill all tasks that don't respond immediately to a shutdown command.

You'll also find the WaitToKillAppTimeout (REG_SZ) value within the same key. This value allows you to change the amount of time NT waits before killing an application. The default value is 20,000 milliseconds. Reducing it to 10,000 or 5,000 milliseconds might make the wait more tolerable.

Note: Editing the registry is risky, so be sure you have a verified backup before making any changes.

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