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How Should I Reboot a Computer?

By M.R. Anglin
Updated May 16, 2024
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It may become necessary to reboot a computer when a program freezes or as part of a software instillation. You can either reboot a computer using a hard reboot or a soft reboot. Hard reboots refer to removing power from the computer system either by pushing the power button or plugging it out. A soft reboot, also known as warm reboots, allows the computer to shut down and restart as the software intends it to.

The safest way to reboot a computer is a soft reboot. Soft reboots use the computer's software to shutdown the system and allow all the processes to shutdown properly. This can be done by clicking the main menu and choosing the shut down option. Once the computer shuts down, use the power button to turn the computer back on. This option can also reset the computer and solve minor glitches.

Once you click on the main menu, you may also find options for restarting your computer. The restart option tells the computer to go through the shutdown sequence and then power back up again. Restarting the computer is often used when installing new software. To manually restart the computer, choose the restart option in the main menu instead of the shutdown option.

If a computer freezes, it may become necessary to reboot a computer by using key combinations. Pressing certain keys at the same time will either bring up a particular menu or restart the computer, depending on the type, model, and age of the system. If the menu comes up, you will find options for shutting down or restarting the system. The key combination for computers designed for Windows is Control, Alternate, Delete (Ctrl-Alt-Del). Computers designed for the Macintosh (Mac) operating system have several key combinations that can shut down or restart the computer, so check with the troubleshooting guide.

The easiest, but not always safest, way to reboot a computer is to push the power button, wait 30-45 seconds, and then turn it on by pushing the button again. Users with earlier models will find that their computer will shut down immediately. Newer models take the time to shut the system down properly. In the latter circumstance, keeping the power button pushed in will cut off the shutdown process and force the computer to turn off. Using this method to reboot a computer may harm the system and cause you to lose your work, so use this option sparingly.

You may also reboot a computer by plugging it out — also a dangerous option. To do this, unplug the computer from the wall or electrical strip. Plugging out the system will shut down the computer no matter what processes are running. This may also cause you to lose work or harm the system. As such, this method of rebooting a computer should also be used sparingly.

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Discussion Comments

By dkarnowski — On Oct 19, 2010

Sometimes it is necessary to reboot the computer that you cannot get access to locally. In this case you need to learn how to reboot a computer remotely.

This can be done usually via a network connection but the software and settings must be installed properly before this type of fashion can be taken from a remote location. True to revoke pewter is a very hazardous safety feature and one that must be used carefully installed properly by system administrators.

The remote reboot function of most home consumer computers are not turned on as a safety precaution for most users will never use this feature. If you want to learn how to reboot your computer remotely there are many tutorials available on the Internet will explain the entire process and what it takes to do so. There is, locations involved when you want to use reboot computer across a network and whether that network is a local network or one that is to the Internet.

By Burlap — On Oct 19, 2010

So many of my computer troubleshooting needs have been solved by a simple reboot of the computer. When I first learned how to reboot a Windows XP computer, it made my life much simpler.

The Windows operating system is so unreliable it reboots for your computer are often necessary. If you are a Windows system you almost certainly know how to do a computer.

Whenever I have friends and family call me and ask what the best way to fix the problem this, I always make sure that They reboot the computer as the first option.

By thumbtack — On Oct 19, 2010

I prefer going through the menu system to try and review the computer. Unfortunately the menu system is not always available as is the case with Microsoft Windows operating system experiences a computer blue screen computer blue screen.

When this happens, a hard reboot your system will be required in order to bring the operating system back up and running. You can do this this the same method as mentioned previously in the comments section of this article by holding down the power button of your computer system for usually 3 to 5 seconds but sometimes it takes longer than that to completely shut down the system.

By youbiKan — On Oct 19, 2010

Whenever I reboot computer I dislike press the power button really fast. Unlike conventional wisdom I think, there are new software applications and operating systems features that allow power to use to turn off device. This is faster than going through the menu system to select the shutdown option.

If you click and hold the power button this is where you will really run into issues. By clicking and holding in the power button you are going to do a hard turn to your system.

Whatever method you used to shutdown your computer be sure that is not damaging your operating system and in turn losing data on your hard drives.

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