Do it from withing the Control Panel-Backup and Restore-Create a system image section. In addition, most HP computers also have a hidden recovery partition which allows you to reinstall everything back to its original factory state. Research the procedure for using the recovery partition at the HP website.. It's generally fairly simple.. Press the F11 or F10 key when the computer is booting up and the recovery partition options are displayed.. It WILL wipe any personal documents from the computer, so be sure you've got backups.
As to the shut down problems, start by eliminating any unnecessary startup programs and services.. All those extra startup programs and services are required to close before the computer shuts down. If they conflict during closing, the computer will freeze and fail to shut down quickly. You mentioned that you've already taken some of those steps, but you'll need to identify the culprit programs causing the lockup.. Try UNCHECKING all the programs in "msconfig" and see if it helps. If so, then go back and start rechecking the times, one by one, till you find the problem program. Frequently, I start thinking "security programs" first. Programs like Norton commonly cause such issues.
Hope this helps.
I have a new HP pavilion PC and have only installed a couple of very basic programs(firefox,itunes, photoimpact), but intermittently windows 7 (64 bit) will not shutdown (hangs forever on shutting down screen).I did uncheck most of the startup stuff but not all, in msconfig.
Also any recommended settings changes to make this machine run cleaner? I had hoped it came with a Cd so I could do a clean install of only the OS, but no such luck.