True - it has nothing to do with another machine and nor shutdown abort nor startup force clean anything on another node.
FYI, I thinkg we have changed startup to startup force even in VCS 3.5 as this is more secure in a way that if instance is left in some fancy state (whatever processes left hanging around and etc.) startup force has more chances to succeed. So unless you have specific concerns I would leave startup force - it's cleaner.
Dennis, The situation that I am experiencing is different from what you have described below. I am simply testing the startup and shutdown of the instance by off-lining and on-lining the database resource and I am not switching or failing over the instance between machines. In the current 3.5 version of DBE/AC, this works fine and as expected where upon on-lining the resource, the agent issues "startup" command. But in the SF 4.1, the agent is issuing the "startup force" command. What you have described below works when the agent issues a "shutdown immediate" command and the instance does not come down within a certain time period of time, which by default is 5 minutes. In this scenario, the agent will issue "shutdown abort" command to bring down the instance.
-- Best regards, Alex Gorbachev