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Shutdown didn't work for me. It was stuck at Ubuntu Logo. I waited for sometime and finally powered off mu laptop. I want to know what happens if i power off my laptop. In what ways its harms OS and/or hardware.

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When you are shutting down a system properly, the OS has a number of housekeeping things to do, ranging from physically writing dirty disk blocks to safely closing all the open programs from spreadsheet to a database program.

Now, when you force shutdown a PC/Laptop, the power goes off in a few milliseconds time and the OS has no time to finish all these functionality. So, You can categories these errors as two parts,

  1. Hard Errors, errors which causes hardware defects : These are mainly caused because of power supplies. There is a definite reason why PC has a SMPS installed. When power goes off immediately, it can cause many defects in motherboard and hard disk. Motherboard errors are rare, but hard disk errors can be expected, if you are a frequent user of "disruptive shutdown"(this is an MS terminology).
  2. Soft Errors, errors which causes software malfunction : These are software errors, due to incomplete configuration file or presence of temporary file. These errors are recoverable and non-lethal.
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Can you provide any references which support the "Hard Errors" theory? Also, it's not clear how Switched-mode power supplies (SMPS) are relevant here –  Sergey Nov 21 '11 at 9:07
    
Yes, it is not clear how SMPS are relevant, and immediate power outage in no way harms the hardware. Worst case for a hard disk is that the sector you were in the middle of writing when the power went out does not get finished and will appear to be bad, but this is easily repairable by re-writing it. Most of the time though, the disk has enough energy stored internally that it can finish writing the sector it was in the middle of before the power completely drains. –  psusi Nov 21 '11 at 14:51
    
@psusi: agree - but that is a "software error" and that's what journaling filesystems are for. I believe there's absolutely no difference for non-mechanical components how the power went off; also hard-drive manufacturers learned how to deal with the problem (heads striking platter surface etc.) somewhere around year 1985, so it's very safe for hard drives as well. Pity this answer was accepted. –  Sergey Nov 21 '11 at 23:55
    
    
@VineetMenon, that's data, not hardware. Obviously any unsaved data is lost. –  psusi Nov 22 '11 at 14:26
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In what ways its harms OS and/or hardware.

It can cause hard disk errors, but that can happen using any OS, not just ubuntu. Fortunately, chances of that happening are very small.

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