201-493-1414 nj@powersolution.com

If you computer keeps freezing, is being unresponsive or is misbehaving in other ways, think back – when did you reboot it last? Before you go ahead and reboot, finish reading this page.

What is a Boot? What’s a Reboot? Is it the same process as a Start and Restart? There are lots of explanations, definitions, and plain nonsense. Some are great valid technical definitions hard to digest for someone not involved in IT. I’ll give you the super easy answers.

First of all, Boot and Reboot is the same as Start and Restart. Just more “technically uptight” of a word.

What it means to you, the User:

Boot/Start is when you turn your computer ON after it was off for a while.
Reboot/Restart is when your computer was already on, and you are manually choosing to reboot it again.

  • Cold Reboot/Cold Restart is when you just plain push the Power button until computer turns completely off.
  • Warm Reboot/Warm Restart is when you manually navigate to the Restart option from your taskbar.

What it means to your Computer:

Boot/Start process loads an operating system and starts the initial processes, from the powered-off state.
Reboot/Restart process is usually required after activities that affect functionality: installing, uninstalling, implementing Windows updates, etc. make changes to the PC’s registry and  after reboot Windows runs the PC with the new registry entries.  ( This is not necessarily the same as a Reset, in which case the BIOS data may not be reloaded.)

So, what’s the deal?

It comes down to organizational skills and discipline. Consider this: very few of the software installations and updates do not require a restart, while others do – and often (Adobe in particular drives me a bit crazy with their updates.)  Some of the changes require a force restart, while others just “request” a restart now versus a restart later. And lets be honest, sometimes users like you and me brush it off because we are eager beavers – we have things to do, emails to send and want to save some time now, meaning to restart the computer later… And sometimes that “later” takes place A LOT later. In the meanwhile, there is some unfinished business going on within the PC, especially when multiple updates, patches, and ignored restart requests are being mounted on top of each other.

We have to remember that all of the activities mentioned earlier (installing, uninstalling, etc.)  will benefit from a Reboot/Restart. It will make the PC to clear the cache, clear RAM (Random-Access Memory, a form of computer data storage your PC needs to operate properly), and force a new registry read, “tuning” your computer up a bit.

Practical Advice: Remember not to arbitrarily shut your computer off from the power source. Use cold reboot only if all else fails – improper shutdown is the main cause of disc corruption, and should not be commonly used. Perform a Warm Reboot – Go to Start > Turn Off your Computer > Restart. If you want to be super-sure, go to Start > Turn Off your Computer > Turn Off, and Boot computer manually after a reasonable period of time – 10-20 seconds.