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I am receiving this message when I'm trying to shut down my computer and I don't have any Finder windows open. What could be causing this message and how do I fix it so that I don't have to perform a hard shutdown?

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I ended up force quitting Finder but then I still have to push the power button to shutdown. – Steve Moser Apr 24 '12 at 19:08
Same here. Happens seemingly randomly and requires the hard "hold the power button down for awhile" operation to get the thing to shutdown. – Brian Knoblauch May 16 '13 at 14:30

Here's another way to Force Quit an application:

  1. Click the Apple Menu
  2. Hold Shift, and notice that the 'Force Quit...' menu item has changed to 'Force Quit [frontmost app name].'
  3. Select 'Force Quit [frontmost app name]' to force quit the Application.
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This usually comes up when the Finder is doing a long copy or emptying the Trash. Are you sure you don't have a progress window minimized to the Dock or on a different Space?

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Network errors can cause Finder to hang at Shutdown. Sometimes you can get around pressing the power button by quitting network manually before trying to restart. This MacOS hint doesn't cover your exact situation, but may well provide a workaround for your hung shutdown: Making Finder BeachBalls go away without rebooting System

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