Reboot Definition & Meaning

Reboot means restarting your computer by closing out open programs, wiping any current processes residing in RAM, and restarting the operating system (OS). Reboots are often used when installing updates or troubleshooting a problem.

Hard reboot vs. soft reboot

  • Hard reboot refers to physically rebooting your computer by holding down the power button to turn off the computer, and then turning it back on a few seconds later.

  • Soft reboot, also known as warm boot, means rebooting the computer through the OS by clicking the reboot option on the screen.

An additional term to be familiar with is cold boot which means turning a computer on from its powered-off state.

What s the difference between reboot, restart, and reset?

The words reboot , restart , and reset are often used interchangeably. Reboot and restart essentially mean the same thing reboot being the more technical term. Reset has a different meaning and is synonymous with erasing. Resetting a device means erasing any data or customization and putting the device back in the same state it was in when it was originally purchased.

How to reboot your computer

If your computer is acting sluggish or having minor problems, it always a good idea to first see if a reboot will fix the problem. For a computer running on Windows, you can restart from the menu, use the power button, or if it freezes, press ctrl+alt+delete. For a Mac, navigate to the menu and choose restart or use the power button. If it expectedly freezes or becomes unresponsive, hold Control+Command and press the power button.

Since reboots close programs and flushes current processes in RAM, always remember to save any open work before rebooting your computer.

Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

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