If you’re an OCD Windows power user and rarely shutdown or restart your computer (like me), you might want to keep track of the reason why you’re doing it. It’s easy to do by enabling Shutdown Event Tracker, which allows you to input the reason you’re shutting down, and track the reasons via Event Viewer.
Enable Shutdown Event Tracker
Shutdown Event Tracker is a feature in Server 2003 for IT admins to keep track of why servers are being rebooted. But it can also be enabled on your home version of Windows 7 and above.
To enable it, open Start in Windows 7 or Run in Windows 8.1 and type gpedit.msc to open Group Policy Editor. Once open, go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System. Then in the right panel double-click on Display Shutdown Event Tracker.
Then set it to Enabled and under the Options section, select Always, and close out of Group Policy Editor.
The next time you shutdown your restart your Windows 7 computer, the following windows will come up. Windows 7 allows you to leave a comment on why you’re doing it.
Windows 8.1 doesn’t allow you to leave a comment, but it does have several planned and unplanned reasons.
Regedit Method for Windows Home Edition
If you’re running a Home version of Windows and want to enable Shutdown Event Tracker, you will need to tweak the Registry to get the Shutdown Event Tracker feature.
Open the Registry Editor and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > Software > Policies > Microsoft > Windows NT > Reliability. Then double click on ShutdownReasonUI and ShutdownReasonUI and change the Value Data to 1. If you don’t see that in your registry, just create the key and values.
Close out of Registry Editor – no reboot is necessary – then the next time you shutdown or restart, you’ll get the same Shutdown Event Tracker that is shown above in professional versions of Windows. For example, in the shot below you can see I am running Windows 7 Home Premium.