1. A reboot is the process of restarting a working computer using hardware (e.g. a power button) instead of software. Rebooting is sometimes necessary after installing a software program, installing operating system updates, to recover from an error, or to re-initialize drivers or hardware devices.
A hard reboot vs, or soft reboot
A reboot may be a cold reboot or hard reboot, which means the power was physically shut off and then turned back on. It can also be a warm reboot or soft reboot, 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 5-10 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
The term restart refers to an operating system closing all programs before a soft reboot. The image shows the "Turn off computer" prompt in Windows XP, with the previously mentioned Restart option.
- Windows restarts without warning.
- How often should I reboot or restart my computer?
- How to turn off, restart, and shut down Linux.
2. Linux users see the reboot command for further information.