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Windows shutdown process, saved passwords on 'iThings'

Tech Talk

The Windows shutdown process

After you click "Shutdown," and before your computer actually turns off, Windows runs a bunch of processes.

First, Windows checks where any other users are logged in to your computer. If so, you'll see a "Someone else is still using this PC" message. If you continue, the other user(s) will lose any unsaved data. To prevent that, click "Cancel" and let the other user sign in, save their work and log out before shutting down the computer.

If there aren't any other users logged in, you won't see this message and Windows will go straight to the next step.

Now, Windows tells any open programs to save their work and close. (This also occurs when you restart your computer since signing you out is a necessary part of the restart process, too.) Windows doesn't just forcibly close open programs, instead, programs are told to save their work and close. It may take some time to get everything closed if you have a lot of programs open. This is one reason it can take a while to shut down or restart your computer.

Sometimes a program might need input from you before it can close, like saving an open file. This is why you may see a "This app is preventing shutdown" dialog box. If you see this message, click "Cancel," check the application, save your data and close it yourself. If you don't need the file saved, click "Shut down anyway."

Windows 10 also remembers which application windows you had open and try to re-open them the next time you sign into your computer. If that's not something you want to happen, hold down the SHIFT key while you click Shutdown.

Now that all of your programs are closed, Windows ends the "session" belonging to your user account. When all user sessions are closed, Windows alerts all of its system services and processes to shut down, saving necessary data to disk. Windows services have 20 seconds or so to clean up and shut down before Windows forcibly shuts them down.

Once all the services are closed, Windows 10 saves the state of your Windows kernel to disk, sort of like a partial hibernate. The next time you start your computer, Windows can reload the saved kernel and boot up more quickly. This feature is called "Fast Startup;" although, "fast" is always subjective.

Windows also works on Windows Updates during the last parts of the shutdown process. Windows works on updates at shutdown, before the computer starts, and in the background while Windows is running.

When all services are closed and updates are taken care of, Windows unmounts your solid-state drive or hard drive, and waits for a signal that indicates all the system's data has been saved to the physical disk.

Finally, when everything is completed, Windows sends a shutdown signal to your computer, which is the step that actually shuts off your computer.

Checking your saved passwords on iPhones and iPads

Even if, for some reason, you decide not to use a dedicated password manager app on your iPhone or iPad, Apple has you covered with a built-in password manager. It's not fancy but it works. Don't know which passwords are already saved on your iPhone or iPad? Here's how to find out.

Tap the Settings app, then tap Passwords & Accounts, and tap Website & App Passwords.

After authenticating, you'll see a list of the saved passwords on your device. Tap an entry in the list to show the saved username and password for that site.

To add a new password, tap the "+" button to open a new password entry, then enter the password you want to add and then tap the "Done" button to complete the process.

And a large orange drink

Why is it that the NSA can hack into my smart TV and listen to every word I say, but at the drive-thru no one can hear me say "no pickles" on their speaker/phone thing?

Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at [email protected].