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I tried shutdown -f now, thinking it will do a full power off sequence. Instead, it ends with

*Checking battery state...

and just hangs there.

Should I add -h switch to fully take power off, or is there some other problem?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

You're supposed to run shutdown -h, or its alias halt, to turn off the system; on some machines you need shutdown -P or poweroff. In fact, without -h (or -P or -r), shutdown is not supposed to turn the computer off, it's supposed to drop into single user mode (at least with the traditional Linux SysVinit, I don't know how compatible Ubuntu's upstart is).

This doesn't preclude another issue which would cause poweroff not to actually power down the computer. Not-fully-supported ACPI is a common culprit.

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Could be an ACPI issue. Look if your distro provides an ACPI package for your brand of laptop.

It's possible this message could also come from a script executing at shutdown. Find out how your distro handles shutdown scripts and you might be able to edit that particular script to not check battery state on shutdown.

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if you don't care you can try shutdown with -n, to skip init stuff

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