Computer power button1. 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 power 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 XPThe 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 Restart option we mentioned earlier.

Related pages

2. Linux users see the reboot command for further information.

Also see: Auto restart, Boot, Bounce, Power cycle, Reset, Shutdown, Warm boot