Troubleshoot the “End Program” Error Message - dummies

Troubleshoot the “End Program” Error Message

By Dan Gookin

If you’ve shut down your PC several times, you probably encountered the “End Program” dialogue box. This box tells you that Windows is having some trouble ending a program or process in the course of shutting down and asks if you want to end it immediately or cancel the attempt. If you do nothing, Windows will continue to try to close the program in the normal way.


The End Now prompt occasionally shows up on the computer screen when you shut down or restart the PC. The issue is a program that’s stuck or one that’s running but that Windows cannot shut down. To continue the shutdown process, click the End Now button. Or, in some cases, you can wait it out and Windows eventually shuts down the program automatically.

  • The full-screen End Now message states something like The following programs are still running and then lists the programs. Click the Cancel button to stop the shutdown or logoff operation, or click the red button to continue. (The red button’s text varies, depending on whether you’re shutting down or just logging off.)

  • Don’t fall into the trap of automatically clicking the End Now button! Occasionally, the message is flagging a program that you must manually shut down, such as the Command Prompt program. In that case, click the Cancel button in the dialog box and then return to the stuck program, save, and quit. You can then shut down or restart the PC.

  • A common culprit of End Now syndrome is the Rundll32.exe process. Don’t freak out! In Windows, Rundll32.exe is responsible for running (get it?) a number of processes. The problem is most likely not with the Rundll32.exe program itself, but rather with whichever process Rundll32.exe is running.