Windows Advisor

Kill the Shutdown Event Tracker

How to get less annoyed at Shutdown in Windows 2003; plus, disabling write caching in XP.

Q: How can I disable Shutdown Event Tracker in Windows Server 2003?

A: Shutdown Event Tracker is the pop-up box that allows you to enter the reason for shutting down your computer. This feature can be useful in high-security environments where the reason for shutting down the computer is logged in the Event Viewer.

However, if you are not using this feature, it can be pretty annoying. To disable this feature, follow this procedure:

  1. Edit the Group Policy Object (GPO) where you would like to disable this feature. For example, edit the Default Domain Policy if you want to implement this change on all computers in your domain. Or edit the Servers GPO if all your servers are located in the Servers GPO.
  2. Go to Computer Configuration, Administrative Templates, System.
  3. In the right-hand pane, double-click Display Shutdown Event Tracker and set the value to Disabled. A value of "Not configured" or "Enabled" will enable this feature.
  4. Go to command prompt and type gpupdate /force, if you want the setting to take effect immediately.

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Q: How do I disable write caching in Windows XP?

A: By default, write caching is enabled in Windows XP to improve disk performance. However, if there's a power failure or system crash, you may lose your data or it can possibly get corrupted. If your system tends to crash or the power in your area is not very reliable you may consider turning off the write-back caching feature. If your computer is protected with an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) and is fairly reliable, you should leave the write-back caching enabled to improve write performance.

To disable write caching, follow this procedure:

  1. Start Windows Explorer.
  2. Right-click your Local Disk and select Properties.
  3. Click on the Hardware tab.
  4. Select your hard drive and click on Properties.
  5. Click the Policies tab.
  6. Uncheck the box "Enable write caching on the disk".

About the Author

Zubair Alexander, MCSE, MCT, MCSA and Microsoft MVP is the founder of SeattlePro Enterprises, an IT training and consulting business. His experience covers a wide range of spectrum: trainer, consultant, systems administrator, security architect, network engineer, author, technical editor, college instructor and public speaker. Zubair holds more than 25 technical certifications and Bachelor of Science degrees in Aeronautics & Astronautics Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Information Systems. His Web site,, is dedicated to technical resources for IT professionals. Zubair may be reached at [email protected].

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