Cry about...
Oracle Troubleshooting

Oracle will not shutdown


A shutdown command has been issued to the Oracle database, but it will not shutdown.

Possible Causes:

The likely cause depends on the type of shutdown command that has been issued, i.e. a ‘Shutdown Normal’ or a ‘Shutdown Immediate’.

If 'Shutdown Normal' hangs


Shutdown normal’ has been issued to the Oracle database, but Oracle will not shutdown.

Possible Causes and Remedies:

There are two likely causes:

  1. Shutdown Normal’ will only shutdown Oracle when there are no remaining connections to Oracle. It is likely therefore that an application still has an active session.

    Possible Remedies:

    • close all open sessions
    • or issue a ‘shutdown immediate’.
  2. If using Oracle Parallel Server issuing ‘Shutdown normal’ on more than one node at a time can cause the system to hang. This is a recognised Oracle problem (Oracle 8.0.5).

    Possible remedies:

    • Only issue ‘Shutdown normal’ on one node at a time, and only issue it on the next node when the previous node has completed its shutting down.
    • Alternately, use ‘shutdown immediate’ instead.

If 'Shutdown Immediate' hangs


Symptom: ‘Shutdown immediate’ has been issued to the Oracle database, but Oracle will not shutdown.

Possible causes and remedies:

  1. If someone is in the login process then shutdown immediate will not work and it will appear to hang.

    Remedy: Issue ‘shutdown abort


    • Shutdown normal’ or ‘shutdown immediate’ is preferred to ‘shutdown abort’, because ‘shutdown abort’ may require some recovery when the database is next started up and because ‘shutdown abort’ is not guaranteed to free up all system resources.
    • In a parallel server environment, Oracle recommends (for 8.0.5 at least) shutting down the ‘OracleService<SID>’ in preference to using ‘shutdown abort’.
  2. For Oracle Parallel Server only: The database does shutdown but the command is not seen to complete.

    Remedy: Look at Task Manager. If an Oracle process is running at 100% and there has been not other noticeable activity for a while then kill the offending process. This is a known problem (for 8.0.5).

This page represents one page of many pages of notes I made whilst working with Oracle 7 through to 10i. I now no longer work with Oracle databases, but hope that these notes will continue to be of benefit to others.

About the author: is a dedicated software developer and webmaster. For his day job he develops websites and desktop applications as well as providing IT services. He moonlights as a technical author and consultant.