Technology Unwrapped

The most important technology concepts, strategies and actions uncovered for your business.

Why Do I Need to Restart My Computer?

88488581_m(Updated June 2023)

“Have you restarted your computer?”

A common question you've probably heard when experiencing technical difficulties, or a slow computer, restarting your computer seems to be the cure-all answer that magically fixes your computer in seconds.

But you have multiple programs running in the background, and restarting your computer means you’ll have to sign back in and hope all of your work saves.

As overwhelming as it may be, there are critical benefits to restarting your computer that will instantly boost performance and speed. We have also included different ways to restart your computer to make it less time-consuming and some tips to make the process more worthwhile. Keep reading to find out how you can keep your computer running efficiently!

Why do you need to restart your computer?

We’re not going to get too technical, but here are the advantages of restarting your computer:

  •   Flushes your Random Access Memory (RAM): Your computer completes millions of tasks in the background while tracking your keystrokes and powering your applications. Restarting your laptop fixes internal issues, shutting down unnecessary network traffic.
  • Keeps your computer secure: If your computer is trying to keep up with the multitudes of tabs open, it will deprioritize critical updates to save and maintain your work, thus, leaving a security patch open for hackers to slip through.
  •  Saves your work: Without rebooting your device, and completing software updates, applications on your computer will become outdated and glitchy, increasing the chances of losing valuable documents and data.
  • Installs updates: Restarting your computer will install software updates automatically onto your device, such as new features on software or fixed bugs.
  • Fixes Internet connection: Considering your work depends on your network connectivity (Ex. wifi), restarting your computer will refresh network settings and speed up accessing resources.
  • Saves your time: Consistently restarting your computer prevents lagging and ensures peak productivity throughout your workday.

The benefits of rebooting your computer far outweigh the time you’ll spend waiting for applications to start or logging back in. Still, restarting your device can take valuable time out of your day, so knowing the fastest way to reboot your computer can make the process go by faster.

How to restart your computer

Many end users don’t realize there are multiple ways to restart your computer, some as simple as hitting a few keys on your keyboard. The following are different methods you can use to save time by rebooting your computer:

Using the Start Menu

If you’re using Windows 11, like we are, restarting your computer might look a little different:

  1.     Click the Start button on your screen- either on the far right, left or in the middle, like ours. Or press the Windows key on your keyboard.
  2.     Click the power button.
  3.     A pop-up will show, giving you the option to sleep, restart it, or shut it down- make sure you click restart; shutting your computer down means you’ll have to turn it back on manually.

Without a mouse (Ctrl + Alt + Del)

  1.     Hold down Control (Ctrl), alternate (Alt), and delete (Del) at the same time
  2.     A new window will appear, allowing you to lock, switch users, sign out, task manager, or cancel- most people will click cancel to reset their computer if it’s frozen, but restarting is a better option.
  3.     In the bottom right corner of the screen, next to the WiFi and accessibility options, click on the power button.
  4.     Like before, a pop-up will appear with your power options, and you can click the restart button.

Without a keyboard (using the power button)

If your computer, keyboard, and mouse seem nonresponsive, forcing your computer to shut down is the next best option.

  1.     Find the power button on your computer- if it’s on a laptop, it should be in the top row of your keyboard, or if you have a desktop computer, the front of your server.
  2.     Press and hold down the button for at least 10 seconds.
  3.     Your computer will have shut down properly once the fans shut off and the screen is entirely black.
  4.     Wait a minute before pressing the power button to initiate a startup.


While these are all options to restart your computer, the time it takes to reboot could vary depending on what your computer needs to do on the backend. If your computer takes a long time to start, contact your IT provider for troubleshooting.

Tips when restarting your computer

When restarting your computer, there are a few tips you need to know:

  •       Sleep mode is not a restart: Sleep mode maintains data, which means the issues you are experiencing will still be there once you’ve turned your computer back on.
  •       Reboot your computer once a week: To ensure your computer is updated correctly and any minor technical issues are resolved, rebooting your computer once a week will optimize your device’s performance.
  •       Power cycling vs. restarting: Power cycling provides a more profound troubleshooting method by forcing the device to shut down completely, then turning the machine back on for a clean startup.

Do you need to hit "restart" on your technology?

Restarting your computer is the key to caring for your work and personal devices. By rebooting your laptop, unnecessary applications and processes will shut down, network traffic will clear, and essential applications will update. Once your computer turns back on, it is ready for tasks you must complete in your workday.

As an IT provider, we discuss computer resets often with clients who call our helpdesk. But we strive to talk through symptoms they see beforehand to ensure a more significant issue isn’t left unnoticed. Contact us if you need additional support with your IT outside the scope of a regular computer reboot. 

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Topics: The Workplace, Trends