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Ubuntu Intrepid and Jaunty cannot either shutdown or restart (or both) proprely on some machines. This is because of the following bug. A workaround for this could be (it may not work for everyone):

1. Open the file /etc/init.d/alsa-utils with root privileges:
gksudo gedit /etc/init.d/alsa-utils

2. Search for the "stop)" entry, somewhere near line 353. Add these lines, accordingly to your network names:
ifconfig wlan0 down
ifconfig eth0 down
So if you have 2 wired network interfaces add them both: eth0 and eth1, if you use a pppoe connection, add it too: ppp0, etc.

3. In the end it should be something like this:
ifconfig wlan0 down
ifconfig eth0 down

4. Save the file and try to shutdown.

[Via Ubuntuforums.org]