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Definition: To exit applications and the operating system properly in preparation for turning off the computer. If a computer is switched off while applications are running, data may be lost or damaged, and the configuration of the operating system may be incorrect the next time the computer is started up; the process of shutting down the computer (most of which is automatically handled by the computer itself) obviates these dangers.
Source: High Definition: A-Z Guide to Personal Technology. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. Credo Reference. Web. 03 August 2012.