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Shutdown not working???????????????????????

Hi I currently own an Acer Aspire 1640 laptop running on Windows XP Home Edition.When I boot it up it works fine and when the computer goes to the Blue user screen i can shut down the pc from the shut down button their.But when i log in do some work,etc and shut it down it doesn't shut down!So i have to hold the power button for 3 - 4 seconds and that will shut it down.Is holding the power button and shutting it down that way like bad for the laptop? And what is causing this? My laptops is also spyware,virus free.

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