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.