Jul 162008

The Windows Server 2003 and Server 2008 Shutdown Event Tracker is a little like the UAC prompts in Vista. It gets on your nerves with a prompt whenever you have to reboot a server. What comment do you usually enter in the Shutdown Event Tracker.

The Shutdown Event Tracker, a new Windows Server 2003/2008 feature, is an uncomplicated GUI application that allows administrators to monitor shutdown events on the server. The tool is enabled on Windows Server 2003/2008 by default. The Shutdown Event Tracker collects information on the reasons why the server was shut down, and then logs this information in Event Viewer. The command-line utility equivalent to the Shutdown Event Tracker is Shutdown.exe.

The Shutdown Event Tracker requires you to provide a reason whenever a server is shut down or restarted. When a server is expectedly shut down, a dialog box or page is displayed, requesting you to specify the reason for the server being shut down. When a server is unexpectedly shut down, the following user to log on to the server has to specify the reason for the server shutting down. Shutdown events can be viewed in Event Viewer, and can be useful when you need to improve uptime.

Configure the Shutdown Event Tracker

  1. Click Start, Run, and then enter gpedit.msc. Click OK.
  2. The Group Policy Object Editor console opens.
  3. In the left pane, expand Computer Configuration, and then Administrative Templates.
  4. Click System
  5. In the right pane, find and double-click the Display Shutdown Event Tracker.
  6. When the Display Shutdown Event Tracker Properties dialog box opens, select one of the following options:
    • Not Configured
    • Enabled
    • Disabled
  7. If you select the Enabled option, you can choose between the following options to specify when the Shutdown Event Tracker should be displayed:
    • Always: This option is self explanatory.
    • Server Only: When selected, the Shutdown Event Tracker is displayed for only Windows Server 2003/2008 servers.
    • Workstation Only: When selected, the Shutdown Event Tracker is displayed for only Windows XP Professional workstations.
  8. If you want to view help information on the Shutdown Event Tracker application, click the Explain tab.
  9. Click OK, and then close the Group Policy Object Editor console.

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  7 Responses to “How to disable the Windows Server 2003/2008 Shutdown Event Tracker”

  1. I think this feature is far from how annoying the UAC can be. Question though, can an inadvertent shutdown be stopped, after the Shutdown Event Tracker, but before information is entered?

  2. These instructions helped me do what I wanted to to (turn off the shutdown event tracker completely), but it was not totally clear how to do that from the instructions. What I found that worked was to select the “Disable” option.

  3. The above procedure does not work on some versions of Server 2008, including the RC2 that I have. The option is not available through Group Policy.

    Here is a registry hack that will do the trick. Open regedit and surf to this key: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows NT\]. Next you will need to create the new key “Reliability”. Finally, create the new dword “ShutdownReasonOn” and set dword:00000000

  4. This does not work on Windows 2003 R2. This “Feature” is so annoying that it should come disabled.

    I wish MS operating systems came with a /FLUFF=Off or /CRAP=DISABLED startup switch.

  5. @rob5289 thank you thank you! @Bob /FLUFF=Off or /CRAP=DISABLED x2

  6. Since disabling the tracker screen (an absolute pain while building/testing a server) I now get shutdown failure messages during reboot on Windows Server 2008. I will keeb digging!

  7. I have windows server 2008 SP2 64 bit edition Installed on Sun Microsystem. My Server is shutting down randomly, i checked event viewer there is no issue with the hardware and there is no problem with the software as well antivirus even though it is shutting down, i kept my server under observation by disableing some of the services. is there any other method to find out the possible reason.
    your suggestions are most welcome.

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