Unsaved changes are lost in a Word document when logging off PC

Hello all,

When our users log off one of our departmental images, and they haven't saved their work in Word, as the machine logs off, they are asked if they want to save their work (as I would expect), but rather than being given the opportunity to say "yes", Word is instead just closed down, and the machine logs off.

Usually, I would expect it to wait a moment, then show the "waiting for programs to close" black window. This is what I want - but I'm not given that option - the system just logs off, and any unsaved work is lost!

Now - I know - the obvious answer is to tell the users to save the damn work before they log off - however, the users are kids, and worse, teaching staff... so asking them to do anything sensible is a bit of a waste of time!!!

I've looked at the "WaitToKillServiceTimeout" in the registry, and have tried increasing the timeout to 30 seconds, but it appears to make no difference at all.

Any help, much appreciated!



Extraordinary Member
Hi Steve and Welcome to The Forum.

A couple of other registry entries that may well be worth searching for and extending the times (especially the first one) are:

"WaitToKillAppTimeout" &


Those are two of many that I always shorten to help speed up shutdown times. Fortunately I don't have to deal with either kids, or teaching staff! :)

Let us know how it goes. Someone may have a better answer for you.


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
Before I check, what version of Office is it?

Saltgrass - Office 2010 - I think I might know where you are going.... Office saves a copy of the work regardless of whether you choose to save or not on exit... apart from that not being the solution the "powers that be" WANT, the machines are also frozen with DeepFreeze, so after a restart, those files would be lost.

Elmer - thanks for the tips - I've looked at those settings, and added them in - but unfortunately, they've made no difference at all!

It's so weird - my PC here is W7 too, but built myself, and it works absolutely fine - this image though has the problem - very annoying! I would consider just rebuilding the image - but it has taken weeks to get it to where it is!

Thanks for your help all.


I needed to set the "AutoEndTasks=0" registry setting too - this appears to have sorted it. I don't have this set on my PC though... very odd!

Thanks for all your help everyone.


Extraordinary Member
Glad you're sorted. Nearly mentioned that one, but thought it would have absolutely nothing to do with it.

Shows what I know!!


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
Never having been a system administrator and having no experience with setting up policies for user computers, I always want to look for some entry in a group policy editor to set such variables to do what you need.

I don't have all the snap-ins, but the one I do have shows the option for a shutdown script. Once again, not having any experience, I don't know if such a thing would be workable, but if your solution turns out to not be acceptible, you might look into that. Maybe sending a pre-shutdown message to close all applications.

What you mentioned about Word 2010 having the option to save a copy if not saved when a shutdown is accomplished may not apply to a system shutdown as opposed to a application shutdown. But if it did, that copy should still be there just as if a normal save operation had been accomplished. I do agree the tempory files created will be gone. I suppose you have Word set up to make a backup every 10 minutes?

And lastly, since your reference was about a certain type of user, perhaps the Parental Controls might be useful . I have not gone through those but it does appear there are additional controls available that might not be installed by default.

Anyway, glad you found something.

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