1. Please read, "Why bother fixing this problem?"
2. Shutdown failure may seem like a purely cosmetic problem, so you might be wondering why you should take the time to fix it. The reason is that snags in the shutdown process can have serious ramifications for a system. Because the cache may not have finished dumping its contents to disk, turning off the machine prematurely can lead to data corruption. Improper shutdowns can also cause your hard disk to slowly fill up since Windows may not get the chance to remove temporary files. Shutdown problems can be caused by many factors which may included damaged exit sound files; incorrectly configured, damaged, or incompatible hardware; conflicting programs, or an incompatible, damaged, or conflicting device drivers.
3. Programs in the StartUp folder:
a. Sometimes a corrupt program in the StartUp folder can prevent a computer from shutting down properly as well as subsequent loading/use of an errant program/application that did not terminate properly. To find out if it applies for start-up, create a new folder and move the contents of the StartUp folder there. Next, restart your computer and then try to shut it down. If the computer shuts down successfully, you can assume there is a problem with one of the programs being loaded initially from this folder. To pinpoint the troublemaker, move a file back into the original StartUp folder, then one at a time afterwards, restarting the computer after each move and then a shut down. If the shutdown process fails you'll know the file last moved was the cause.
Note: To resolve this situation, you can permanently remove the program from the StartUp folder. In this case, a program should be reinstalled since it may have corrupted files. If none of the programs in the StartUp folder are causing your system to hang during shutdown, you'll have to look elsewhere for the source. Let's take a look at some other possibilities. However, do consider placing a check mark in the box labeled, "Disable fast shutdown" (General tab, Advanced button). In addition, users of Windows 98 Second Edition should download and install the Shutdown Supplement and follow all troubleshooting tips explained in, [Q238096].
Caveat/Warning: I may be a stickler when it concerns computer situations but I have experienced a restart problem at the MS-DOS prompt using the key combination Ctrl+Alt+Del if the checkmark has been removed (option Enabled) for "Disable fast shutdown". When enabled by the absence of the checkmark, the Windows registry consists of the following single address and the first string entry following, which is changed to a zero with the additional key and value reflected when disabled by adding a checkmark:
? FastReboot "1" (enabled)
? FastReboot "0"
original_FastReboot "1" (disabled)
b. Windows 98 users may use the System Configuration Utility tool to disable programs but you may find the above easier and quicker. However, review the entire reference first. Supplemental reading:
? "Computer Stops Responding When You Try to Shut It Down (Q196008)."
? "How to Troubleshoot Windows 98 Shutdown Problems (Q202633)."
3. To configure Windows not to use the Plug and Play BIOS to determine if the problem is caused by such devices:
a. Restart your computer. Press and hold the CTRL key until you see the Windows 98 Startup menu.
b. Choose Command Prompt Only and type the following lines at the command prompt, pressing Enter after each line:
Rename Bios.vxd Bios.vxd.old
c. Restart your computer and attempt to shut down Windows to see if the anomaly disappears. If it did, there is possible P&P enumeration problems of some sort.
d. After the "test" is completed, you should rename the Bios.vxd.old by removing the .OLD.
4. When a Win98 computer is started, the Startup menu may appear and display the following error message which can occur if Windows was unable to delete the Wnbootng.sts file in the Windows folder the last time the computer booted. This file is automatically deleted after a successfully start and is not normally resident. If this file was not deleted after a particular start, subsequent starts will cause the same anomaly until this file is removed manually, [Q143283]:
Warning: Windows did not finish loading on the previous attempt. Choose Safe mode, to start Windows with a minimal set of drivers