Restart a Computer

This article teaches you how to safely reboot your Windows or macOS computer.

Steps

Windows 10 and 8/8.1

  1. Press Ctrl+Atl+Del on the keyboard. A screen containing several options (Lock, Switch User, Sign Out, Task Manager) will appear. It may take a few moments to appear if the computer is performing slowly.[1]
    • If you’re connected to the computer remotely with Remote Desktop, this shortcut won’t work. If your remote desktop client supports it, you can 'send' this key sequence, or you can open a command prompt on the remote computer and run the following command: shutdown -r -f -t 0
  2. Click the Power icon. It’s a circle with a vertical line at its center at the bottom right part of the screen.
  3. Click Restart. The computer will now reboot. If you have any open programs, you may be prompted to close them before the computer powers down.
  4. Perform a hardware reboot. If the computer is frozen, you’ll need to do a hardware reboot. You should only do this if the previous steps didn’t work. Here’s how:
    • Press and hold the power button on the computer until it turns off. This button is usually located on the side of your laptop, or on the front of the “tower” part of your desktop computer.
    • Press the power button once again to turn it back on.

Windows 7 and Vista

  1. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del on the keyboard. This brings up the lock screen. If the computer is performing slowly, it may be a few moments before it appears.[2]
    • If you’re connected to the computer remotely with Windows Remote Desktop, the keyboard shortcut won’t work. Instead, open a command prompt on the remote computer and run the following command: shutdown –r.[3]
  2. Click the Power button. It’s the red button at the bottom right corner of the screen.
  3. Click Restart. The computer will now reboot. If you have any open programs, you may be asked to close them before the computer restarts.
  4. Perform a hardware reboot. If the previous steps didn’t work, you’ll need use the power button on the computer to restart it. You should only do this if the computer will not restart.
    • Press and hold the power button on the computer until it turns off. This button is usually located on the side of your laptop, or on the front of the “tower” part of your desktop computer.
    • Press the power button once again to turn it back on.

macOS

  1. Press Control+ Command+ Eject. This command will close all open programs and restart your Mac. If you have any unsaved work, you’ll be prompted to save it before the computer restarts. If your computer is performing slowly it may take several minutes for the computer to restart.[4]
    • Another way to do this is to open the Apple menu (at the top left corner of the screen) and click Restart.
    • If you’re connected to computer remotely, you can restart it with sudo shutdown -r now.[5]
  2. Force a hardware reboot. You should only do this if you were unable to restart the computer. A hardware reboot should be a last resort step as it can cause data loss.[6]
    • Press and hold the power button on the keyboard’s upper right corner (or the back of a desktop computer) until it powers off. Then, press the power button again to turn the computer back on.

Video

Tips

  • Always save or back up your work before restarting or shutting down your computer. In most cases, your computer will not automatically save your work for you.
  • If your computer doesn't respond to even the hardware reboot commands, you can restart it by unplugging your desktop computer from the electrical outlet or removing the battery from your laptop. It should shut down immediately. Afterwards, reattach the power source and turn it back on.

Sources and Citations

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