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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. Apr 24, 2012 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. May 16, 2013 at 14:30

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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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    Alternatively, press ALT+CMD+ESC to bring up the Force Quit dialog (akin to CTRL+ALT+DEL on Windows), or press ALT+SHIFT+CMD+ESC to Force Quit the frontmost app
    – Jivan Pal
    Nov 16, 2019 at 18:46
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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

Turns out that using that to turn off Wi-Fi, then waiting for a bit, and turning Wi-Fi back on clears the Finder's beachball

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I found that opening Force Quit (with no other apps running except Finder) then relaunching Finder allowed me to Restart my Mac Pro.

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It usually happens when it's trying to synchronize or back-up IOS devices. Sometimes it happens when it's doing mail.

What's bad is when the computer is doing its regularly scheduled shut-down and the message comes up, but I have already left. It stops the shutdown waiting for me to respond to the message and I don't discover it until the next morning, even though the cause of the message is no longer valid.

This is a real security issue.

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