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Reboot vs. Restart: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Rebooting involves shutting down and then starting a system, potentially clearing more complex issues, while restarting generally refers to the process of turning off and on quickly, often used to resolve simple system problems.
Reboot vs. Restart

Key Differences

Reboot typically entails the process of powering down a system and then bringing it back up again, often including the reinitialization of hardware to clear any software issues. This action can be part of regular maintenance or a troubleshooting step for more significant system errors or updates that require a complete cycle of shutdown and start-up to take effect.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023
Restarting a system usually means the closure of all applications, logging off the user, and a full shutdown and immediate startup of the system. It's a common first step in troubleshooting and is often used to apply minor software updates or fixes. The term restart doesn't necessarily imply a full hardware reset as a reboot might, although in practice, the actions carried out by the system can be quite similar.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023
Reboot can sometimes refer to a broader and deeper reset compared to a restart. For example, in the context of computer systems, a reboot may involve the reinitialization of the BIOS or firmware, whereas a restart may simply be reinitializing the operating system. The distinction is subtle and often depends on the context in which the terms are used.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023
While a restart is often just a quick refresh of the operating system, a reboot may be suggested when a system is more severely compromised, such as after a software installation gone wrong or when a significant update needs to be fully integrated. Both actions can solve different kinds of operational issues but may vary in the extent of their effectiveness.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 08, 2023

Comparison Chart

Scope

May include hardware reinitialization
Typically limited to operating system refresh
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Use Case

For significant system issues and updates
For minor issues and updates
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Duration

Potentially longer due to full hardware reset
Generally quicker without full hardware reset
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System State

Clears more complex issues by resetting the system
Clears simple issues by refreshing the system state
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Frequency

Less frequent, used for bigger fixes
More frequent, for everyday troubleshooting
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Reboot and Restart Definitions

Reboot

A reboot can also refer to the act of restarting any electronic device.
The technician suggested a reboot of the router to improve connectivity.
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Nov 08, 2023
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Restart

In computing, to restart means to reboot the operating system.
Click 'Restart' to apply the new updates to your system.
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Reboot

To restart a computer system by reloading the operating system.
After installing new software, a system reboot may be required.
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Nov 08, 2023

Restart

Restarting is often used in casual speech to mean 'begin again'.
After the interruption, the speaker restarted his presentation.
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Nov 08, 2023

Reboot

The act of bringing new vitality to a project or idea, akin to restarting.
The new director decided to reboot the marketing strategy.
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Restart

In video games, to restart can mean to start a level or game from the beginning.
After losing the final battle, the player chose to restart from the last checkpoint.
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Reboot

To turn (a computer's operating system) off and then on again; restart.
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Oct 19, 2023

Restart

To begin again or continue after a pause or interruption.
If the application fails, try a restart before calling support.
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Nov 08, 2023

Reboot

To bring back (an earlier film or television show), usually with a new cast and updated script.
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Oct 19, 2023

Restart

To start (something) again that has been stopped or paused.
The restarted heart began to beat steadily once more.
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Nov 08, 2023

Reboot

The act or an instance of rebooting a computer's operating system.
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Oct 19, 2023

Restart

To start again or anew
Restarted the engine after it stalled.
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Oct 19, 2023

Reboot

A film or television show that is a remake of an earlier production, typically with a different or refreshed viewpoint.
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Oct 19, 2023

Restart

To begin operation again.
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Oct 19, 2023

Reboot

(computing) An instance of rebooting.
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Oct 19, 2023

Restart

The act of starting something again.
After the restart of my browser, the problem went away.
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Oct 19, 2023

Reboot

(by extension) A fresh start.
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Restart

(computing) To reboot.
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Oct 19, 2023

Reboot

(narratology) The restarting of a series' storyline, discarding all previous continuity.
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Oct 19, 2023

Restart

Start an engine again, for example
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Oct 19, 2023

Reboot

(widely considered a misuse) The restarting of a series' storyline without discarding previous continuity.
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Oct 19, 2023

Restart

Take up or begin anew;
We resumed the negotiations
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Oct 19, 2023

Reboot

To execute a computer's boot process, effectively resetting the computer and causing the operating system to reload, possibly after a system failure.
We need to reboot the system after installing these updates.
The system reboots every weekend after updates are installed.
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Oct 19, 2023

Reboot

(by extension) To start afresh.
They rebooted the TV series, but it's even worse than the original.
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Oct 19, 2023

Reboot

Restart; to return to a an initial configuration or state.
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Oct 19, 2023

Reboot

Cause to load (an operating system) and start the initial processes;
Boot your computer
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Oct 19, 2023

Reboot

In pop culture, rebooting means to remake a film or series with significant changes.
The studio announced a reboot of the classic 80s sitcom.
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Nov 08, 2023

Reboot

Reboot may refer to the restoration of a system to its original settings.
You may need to reboot your phone to its factory settings if it keeps crashing.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

How often should I reboot my computer?

Whenever necessary, particularly after software installations or updates.
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Nov 08, 2023

Does restarting a PC fix problems?

It can resolve many basic issues by refreshing the system.
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Should I reboot or restart for a minor software update?

A restart is usually sufficient for minor updates.
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What does reboot mean for smartphones?

Similar to computers, it restarts the operating system to resolve issues.
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What's a hard reboot?

It's a forced restart, typically by physically cutting the power.
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Do reboot and restart mean the same thing?

They are similar but reboot may include hardware reinitialization.
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Is rebooting a computer necessary?

Yes, especially after major updates or to resolve complex issues.
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Will rebooting delete my files?

No, it simply reloads the system without deleting personal files.
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Is it bad to restart your computer often?

Frequent restarts are generally not harmful but may indicate underlying issues.
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Can rebooting fix software glitches?

Yes, it can clear temporary software malfunctions.
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Does a restart clear RAM?

Yes, it clears RAM by closing running programs and processes.
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Does rebooting reset network settings?

It can, especially if selecting options to reset hardware like modems.
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Do I need to save work before a restart?

Yes, unsaved work may be lost during a restart.
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What's the best way to reboot a frozen computer?

Use the physical power button if the system is unresponsive.
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Can I cancel a restart once initiated?

Often you cannot, especially if the shutdown process has begun.
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Is reboot the same as reset?

No, reset often implies returning to factory settings, while reboot does not.
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Why does my computer restart instead of shutting down?

It could be due to a setting or a software glitch.
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How do I perform a reboot on a server?

Through command line interfaces or server management tools.
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Can rebooting improve system performance?

It can, by freeing up resources and clearing temporary issues.
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Does restarting a router work like rebooting?

Yes, it clears the device's memory and restarts its systems.
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Nov 08, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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