Windows XP won't shut down

Help! The past two nights, when I've gone to shut down my laptop (an '03 HP), I push the shut down button, only to watch the laptop not shut down. It just sits. I can move the mouse, so there isn't a freeze. But if I try to select any options (i.e. reopen a web browser to find help on, it tells me I can't because it's shut down. I wind up pushing the "reset" button and it immediately turns the laptop off.

We've made no new software upgrades or changes that I'm aware of in the past couple of days, save for the install of a photo viewing tool that accompanied CDs of photos we had made recently at a retailer. Am I experiencing a hardware malfunction that needs repair, or is this a software problem? Or, is it a sign that my machine needs significant clean up? Thanks!

Question Info

Last updated October 19, 2018 Views 96,170 Applies to:
I had this issue with a fresh install of XP Professional w/ SP3, along with software for a network interface card (NIC). For some then-unknown reason, the computer would keep rebooting every time I shut it down. As it turns out, in the BIOS on these older Gateway machines, you can set a flag for the computer to turn on in response to a signal through the NIC from the network. Under Control Panel/System/Device Manager/Network Adaptors you can also define what kind of signal (Magic Packet or Directed Packet) from the network will cause this to happen. Most of my experience had been with stand-alone machines and this was all a surprise to me. I disabled the flag in the BIOS and also set the Network Adaptor to "OS Control". Either one of these probably would have done the trick, but I was in a hurry and didn't care to experiment further. The problem stopped  and I was able to shut the machine down.

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