Disabling the Shutdown Event Tracker in Windows XP and Windows 2003 Server

During setup, it might be useful for you to be able to disable the Shutdown Event Tracker in Windows XP and Windows 2003 Server.

The Shutdown Event Tracker is a feature new to both Windows XP Professional and Windows 2003 Server. Whenever an administrator signals a shutdown of the computer -- whether from the local console or remotely through a Remote Desktop session -- the administrator is prompted for some descriptive information about why the system was shut down. The prompt contains several built-in reasons for the shutdown:

Hardware: Maintenance
Hardware: Installation
Operating System: Reconfiguration
Application: Maintenance
Application: Installation
Security Issue

...along with an "Other" category, a freeform note field, and a "Planned" checkbox, which indicates whether or not the shutdown was planned or dictated by circumstances. At shutdown, this information is written to the System event log, with the source USER32. This can be useful for conducting audits about downtime and reboots.

However, during the initial phases of setup and configuration where multiple reboots may be needed, an administrator may not want to bother with the Shutdown Event Tracker and may simply want to disable it for the time being.

  1. From the command line or the Start | Run dialog type GPEDIT.MSC and press Enter. This launches the Group Policy Object Editor for the local machine.
  2. Navigate to Local Computer Policy | Computer Configuration | Administrative Templates | System.
  3. Double-click the "Display Shutdown Event Tracker" policy and set it to Disabled. Click OK.

The new policy should take effect immediately, although it may require up to one reboot to take effect.


Serdar Yegulalp is the editor of the Windows 2000 Power Users Newsletter. Check out his Windows 2000 blog for his latest advice and musings on the world of Windows network administrators – please share your thoughts as well!


This was first published in January 2004

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