Re: Even to this day...
End of the 1990s, my recollection is that while advanced power management (like suspend and hibernate) were often dodgy, regular shutdown/halt/reboot were not a problem. Is this yet another classic Windows-ism?
NT4 was released back in 96, then patched for years and years after. It did NOT include the standard APM power-off in the base or any of the update. Windows 95 was just a hare ahead of it in that respect. There were 3rd party patches to give NT4 APM power-off capabilities, but that wasn't a common addition.
You don't have to go back that far, either. I had a PC in the mid '00s that Linux decided couldn't be APM powered-off. A very minor nuisance... until the right confluence of other human errors conspires with.