Disabling the Windows 10 “This app is preventing you from restarting/shutting down/logging off” screen

Sometimes Microsoft befuddles me. Scratch that. Not sometimes. Usually.

Take for example the “new” log-off/shutdown/restart behavior. Used to be by default in Windows 7 that when you shut down, you’d receive prompts about applications that were preventing shutdown. In most cases, this would be an unsaved document. You could simply click desired option (Save, or Don’t Save), and Windows would continue logging you out, unless it came upon another unsaved document. Rinse and repeat until you’ve closed all your unsaved documents, and Windows would finally log you out.

Now in Windows 10, you get that generic blue screen with a list of apps left to shut down, with only two options: Shutdown anyway, or Cancel. Neither of these are good options. One stops your shutdown, and you have to manually go through all your open apps and close them one by one. The other simple force closes all your apps, losing anything you might not have saved.

Thankfully, this setting is easily reverted to the legacy behavior with either a registry entry change, or a Group Policy change (which affects the same registry entry). To apply, use this reg file: Enable-AllowBlockingAppsAtShutdown.reg

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\System]
"AllowBlockingAppsAtShutdown"=dword:00000001

You can also find this setting in the Group Policy editor (Start, Run: gpedit.msc) under Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Shutdown Options > Turn off automatic termination of applications that block or cancel shutdown: