[SOLVED] Shut down Windows 7 at “Set Up Windows” screen, without error?

Q. Hi, I am selling a new laptop after upgrading the RAM. It has a factory fresh install of Windows 7 on it. I booted it up once to make sure the RAM was recognized and now I am stuck at the creating a user name and computer name screen on the Windows 7 setup 🙁 If I power off the system the purchaser will get an error message the first time the notebook boots up saying Windows did not shutdown properly… this would leave a bad impressions! I tried ctrl-alt-del, quickly pressing the power button for graceful shutdown and a bunch of other stuff but nothing will get it shutdown gracefully. Of course the user can Start Windows Normally to continue the setup, or I could create a generic user for them, but I would rather not since I want it to be factory fresh for them!!!  Is there a way to shut the laptop down so that they can do the setup without getting that dang error on startup? How can I do this?!

UPDATED Answer: commenter Jordan pointed out a simpler method,

At the user name screen hit [Shift + F10]. A command prompt should appear. At this command prompt type [shutdown /s] without the brackets and wait about 10-20 seconds. Should shutdown without errors and be ready to boot back to the user setup screen without error for your customer.


ORIGINAL Answer: Whew, tough question! Thankfully, after some trial and error, I found a way:

#1 power off the system manually by pressing and holding the power button (usually takes about 8 seconds)

#2 turn the system back on and quickly (and repeatedly) press F8 so you get to the Windows boot options screen

#3 select safe mode

#4 Windows will continue booting and will eventually tell you that setup cannot continue in safe mode and Windows needs to restart

[this step, #4, clears the error message since Windows was able to boot successfully…]

#5 let Windows restart the computer BUT do not let the computer start loading Windows (otherwise it will get into setup and you’ll be stuck at that same screen again unable to shutdown)

[ways to prevent it from starting to load Windows: go directly into the BIOS and then shutdown the computer -or- press the pause key and shutdown before Windows starts loading -or- press F8 for boot options then shutdown -or- just shutdown quickly before Windows gets started booting… timing can be tricky on this last one]

That’s it! Now when the buyer starts up the laptop it will go straight into the Windows 7 installation finalization where they can enter their user name and computer name, they will not get the pesky error about Windows being shutdown improperly and failing to boot.

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