A reboot is the process of restarting a working computer using
hardware (e.g. a power button) instead of software. Rebooting is sometimes necessary to recover from an error, or to re-initialize drivers or hardware devices.


A hard reboot vs, or soft reboot

A reboot may be cold reboot or hard reboot which means the powerpowbutt was physically shut off then turned back on. Or it can be, warm (soft) which means the system restarted without loss of power.

Note: Users should only perform a hard reboot if the computer is completely frozen as it may damage hardware components.


How to do a hard reboot

To perform a hard reboot or cold reboot press and hold down the power button on the computer. After 10-15 seconds the computer should turn off. Once the computer is off wait a few seconds and then turn the computer back on.


Reboot vs. Restart

Restart in Windows XP The term restart refers to an operating systemrestart closing all programs before a soft reboot. The image shows the "Turn off computer" prompt in Windows XP; with the Restart option we mentioned earlier.


How do I restart Microsoft Windows?

There are many instances in which you may need to restart you
computer, including the installation of new software, Windows updates, or the need to correct issues with performance. This page contains multiple methods for restarting Windows. To proceed, select the method you would like to use from the list below or read through each section individually.

Restarting from the Windows Desktop:

In any version of Windows, navigate to the desktop and press Alt + F4 on your keyboard. Doing so brings up a menu similar to the one displayed below. Click the down arrow for the drop-down list, select Restart, and click OK.


How do I sleep, restart, or shut down Windows 8?

Windows 8.1

With the Windows 8.1 on the Start Screen in the top-right corner of the screen is a power button that allows you to Sleep, Shut down, and Restart. Clicking this icon or pressing your finger on this icon gives you the options shown in the picture.

Windows 8

Windows 8 shutdownWith the initial release of Windows 8 yo Sleep, Restart, or Shut down follow the steps below.

  1. Move the mouse to the right-hand side of the screen or press the Windows key + C to open the Charms.
  2. In the Charms menu click Settings.
  3. Click the Power icon and select either Sleep, Shut down or Restart.

Restarting through the Start menu

Windows 10

The Start menu returns in Windows 10, allowing users to easily access the power options again.

  1. Click the Start button in the lower left-hand corner of the screen.
  2. Click the Power option.
  3. In the Power menu, select the Restart option.

Windows 8 and 8.1

Neither of these versions of Windows has the Start Menu. However, Windows 8 power optionswith the 8.1 update, Microsoft added the power options button to the upper right-hand corner of the Start screen that allows users to restart their computer quickly. Click the power options icon (squared in red in the image to the right) and select Restart from the drop down menu that appears.

Windows Vista and 7

In both Windows Vista and Windows 7, users may restart their Restart the computer in Windows Vista and 7computer through the Start menu using the following steps:

  1. Click the Start orb in the lower left-hand corner of the Windows Desktop.
  2. Locate and click the right arrow (shown below) next to the Shut down button.
  3. Select Restart from the menu that appears.

Windows XP and prior versions

  1. Click the Start button in the lower left-hand corner of the screen.
  2. Click the Shut Down button.
  3. Select Restart in the drop down menu that appears.
  4. Click OK.

Using Ctrl + Alt + Delete to restart

If you press the Ctrl + Alt + Delete keys on your keyboard simultaneously, it will bring up an administrative menu. This menu differs between versions of Windows, but each one allows users access to the Restart function. Instructions for each version are shown in the following sections.


Windows 10

In Windows 10, pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del takes you to the Windows lock screen. To restart Windows:

  1. Locate and click the power icon in the lower right-hand corner of the lock screen. It should be the icon furthest to the right.
  2. Select Restart from the menu that appears.

Windows 8

Users of the Windows 8 will be taken to the Windows lock screen upon pushing Ctrl+Alt+Del. To restart Windows:

  1. Locate and click the black power button in the lower right-hand corner of the screen.
  2. Select Restart from the menu that appears.

Windows Vista and 7

In Windows Vista and 7, pressing Ctrl+Alt+Delete takes users to the Shut down optionsWindows lock screen containing several options. In the lower right-hand corner, there is a red button with an arrow next to it. Clicking this button opens a list of shutdown options, as you can see in the image to the right. To restart your computer using this menu:

  1. Click the red arrow to open the menu.
  2. Select Restart to reboot your machine.

Windows XP and prior

In Windows XP and earlier, Ctrl+Alt+Del brings up the Windows Security screen. To restart:

  1. Click the Shut Down... button.
  2. In the new window that appears, click the down arrow and select Restart from the dropdown menu.
  3. Click OK.

Windows XP restart

Using the Windows Command Line

You can shutdown or restart a Windows computer using the Windows command prompt by following the steps below.

  1. Open the Windows Command Line window.
  2. To shut down Windows, type shutdown -s and press Enter.
  3. To restart Windows, type shutdown -r and press Enter.

Note: If you are accessing Windows on a computer through a remote desktop connection and execute the shutdown or restart command, the remote desktop connection will be terminated. If you executed the restart command, you can reconnect to that computer once it has restarted. If you executed the shutdown command, you will not be able to reconnect to and start up that computer remotely.