Updated: 11/13/2018 by Computer Hope

A Reboot may refer to any of the following:

Computer power button

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 re-initialize drivers or hardware devices.

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.

What should happen when I reboot?

When you reboot a computer, all open programs should close. Then, the computer should turn off briefly and then turn back on.

Why should I reboot?

Rebooting a computer can help resolve many issues such as Internet connectivity problems, slow browser response, and software issues. Essentially, it "starts over" any code that may be working improperly.

Hard reboot vs. 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.


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

What key combination allows me to restart?

For PCs running Microsoft Windows, you can press Ctrl+Alt+Del (known as three finger salute) to reboot the computer or start the process of rebooting or restarting the computer.

Reboot vs. restart

Restart in Windows XP

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.

Erasing the computer and restarting over

Some may refer to a reboot or restart as the process of erasing the computer and starting over. For information about erasing the computer and starting over, see the document below.

2. Linux users see the reboot command for further information about rebooting a Linux computer from the command line.

Auto restart, Boot, Bounce, Cold boot, Hardware terms, Power cycle, Reset, Shutdown, Warm boot