Different Ways on How to Power Cycle a Laptop

Most people are guilty of not turning off or restarting their machines as often as they should. Despite how convenient it is to switch to Sleep mode when you’re done using your laptop or computer for the day, experts recommend giving a full restart or power cycle to your laptop or PC at least once every week.

The seemingly time-consuming act of restarting your computer actually improves its performance. It is possible to free up processing power on your computer by restarting it, which will clear off memory and terminate any open apps or updates.

Depending on the state of the system, not all of Windows’ shutdown and restart options will be functional. So that you always have a plan B for power cycling a laptop, we’ve compiled a list of them below.

What Does the Power Cycle of Your Laptop Mean?

Power cycle a device means activating a new power cycle on your gadget by turning it off and on. A simple power cycle—switching off your phone, waiting a moment or two, and then turning it back on—may fix many problems, just as it can with a computer. Doing so once or twice weekly is recommended.

There are 2 thermodynamic cycles usually utilized in power generation. These are the Rankine and Brayton cycles. They are also known as “power cycles” due to their ability to transform thermal energy into useful mechanical labor.

What Does Power Cycling Your Device Do?

Performing a power cycle involves turning off and then turning back on an appliance or piece of electronic machinery like a laptop. Such devices are normally powered by an external source. A power cycle is a process of switching off and then back on the electricity supply.

Is the Power Cycle the same as a Restart?

Both phrases have essentially the same meaning. Turning something on again, possibly without altering its settings, is what we mean when we say “restart.” It is common practice to require a system restart prior to installing new firmware or software.

Rebooting, restarting, power cycling, and performing a soft reset all refer to the same action—turning off and then back on the device. One can usually replace the other with little difference in meaning. 

Both “reboot” and “restart” refer to the process of reactivating a previously suspended operating system, but the nomenclature used to describe it varies depending on the specific OS in question. 

The Differences between Reboot, Restart & Reset

If you have a Windows 11/10 computer or perhaps a phone, you’ve probably already heard of all these words. There are distinctions in terms of the various ways of power cycling a laptop despite their similarities in pronunciation. Why should you learn them? 

Truthfully, it won’t make a difference because all you see on the outside are options to restart, shut down, and log out. Nonetheless, awareness of its existence is advisable.


To put it simply, it’s a procedure in which two processes are started by computers. You might try restarting the computer as a possible solution. Computer inputs and outputs are closed, work is saved, and any slow-running processes are killed off when you press the shutdown button. 

It powers down the machine and reboots with a fresh OS. It commences the process of loading the operating system and is essentially equivalent to a hardware reset.

1-Hard Reboot

A hard reboot can be performed by hand. Keeping the power button depressed causes the computer to shut down. Unplug yourself from your electronic devices. Once the ten seconds have passed, the computer should power up.

2-Soft Reboot
man trying to power cycle a laptop

The hardware status of the machine is not reset when you restart it using ALT+CTRL+DEL or shut it down from the Start menu. To put it plainly, a soft reboot is a restart of a computer that does not cause an outage.

Ways to Reboot Your Laptop (Windows, Mac, and Linux)

Restarting a computer, power cycling a laptop, or “rebooting” it, involves quitting any running programs, clearing RAM of all data, and resuming the machine’s operating system from scratch (OS). It is common practice to force a system reboot after applying updates or doing system maintenance.

Restarting a computer can fix issues, including lost network connections, sluggish browsers, and malfunctioning software and hardware. This effectively resets any faulty code and aids in maintaining the computer’s smooth operation.

Methods of Rebooting XP, Vista, or Windows 7
  1. First, make sure no programs or files are running in the device’s background.
  2. Clicking Windows’ bottom-left Start button opens the Start Menu.
  3. Select the Shutdown option by clicking the right arrow.
  4. Once the menu has loaded, select Restart from the drop-down list.
Ways to Reboot a Laptop’s Windows Using Shortcut Keys

When the “Security Keys” (Ctrl, Alt, and Del) are pushed simultaneously, a blue administration window appears. This is also where you may take care of business involving locking the PC, switching users, logging out, and restarting or shutting down.

  1. To continue, use the keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl, Alt, Delete). The program will prompt you to quit when it is finished. Different Windows releases give the box a slightly different look.
  2. In the dialogue box, select the Restart button:
  • For Windows 10 and 8, choose the power button in the system’s notification area and then select Restart.
  • If you’re using Windows 7 or Vista, you can restart your computer by clicking the arrow to the right of the red power button.
  • If you’re using Windows XP, select the Shut Down option from the menu, and then hit the Restart button.
Rebooting a Linux System
  1. First, do the clicking through the right panel of the mouse at any point on the screen.
  2. Click Open Terminal located on the context toolbar that shows.
  3. Then, in the command prompt, type reboot or sudo share by multiple reboots. 
Rebooting a Mac System

The process of rebooting a Mac is possible by accomplishing 2 different ways:

  • Via the menu bar
  1. To access Apple’s menu, select the symbol in the top left corner.
  2. Select Restart from the menu that appears.
  3. Uncheck the box labeled “Reopen windows upon logging back in” if you do not want your currently active applications to relaunch after a Mac restart.
  • Through the keyboard

To reboot, press and hold Control + Command + Power until the screen goes black and the reboot sound plays. Since this method does not depend on Mac OS X, it is the most dependable method for rebooting a Mac.

How to Reboot a Computer Manually

The ability to use the keyboard and access the menu screen may be lost in the event of a system crash, freeze, or the dreaded blue screen of death. You’ll need to manually or forcefully reboot your device instead.

  1. You must hold the power button down for at least 5 seconds in order to force the computer to turn off. The machine will shut down, leaving the screen dark and the fan off.
  2. Hold off for at least thirty seconds. Doing so will protect the power source, motherboard, and other essential components from being overloaded by frequent power cycling.
  3. At this point, rebooting the device is possible through the use of a power button. As soon as the computer boots up, make a mental note of any warnings that pop up. To determine what went wrong initially, this is useful information for troubleshooting.

★ Restart

Restart and reboot are virtually indistinguishable. To force the operating system to reboot, you must first perform a force restart. From the main menu, choose “Power” to restart the computer. However, this causes a restart of the operating system for the computer.

Various Ways in Restarting or Power Cycling a Laptop Computer

In Windows, there are several options for powering down or restarting, and some of them may not always be effective. Here is a rundown of them so that you always have a way to restart your computer.

1-Use the on-screen Start button

It is commonly used to power off or restart a Windows machine. From the menu that appears when you click “Start”, you may choose to either restart the entire computer, which will close any open programs, or power down the computer and start it up again. Selecting Shutdown will accomplish the aforementioned tasks except for restarting the device. 

In order for you to restart your laptop or computer device through this method, try following the steps below:

  1. There’s a button labeled “Start” in the screen’s bottom left corner that you should click. A shortcut key on your keyboard, Windows, will also bring up the Start menu.
  2. The power button should be selected.
  3. If you hold down the power button, a menu will appear giving you the option to shut down, restart, or put the computer to sleep.
  4. Look for the restart button and click it if you wish to do so.
2-Long-press the Power button

Users still need the option to power cycle their devices, even though many modern ones do not have user-removable batteries. In many cases, you can restart a device that doesn’t have a user-replaceable battery by holding down a few buttons at the same time. The Nexus 7 and the Kindle both have a “power cycle” function that can be triggered by holding the power button down for 30 seconds. 

3-Use the Reset pinholes

A built-in battery may prevent a device from being activated by repeatedly pushing a button. Typically, these gadgets feature covert buttons that allow you to restore power. Pinholes refer to the little buttons found in the gadget, which are housed in similarly sized openings. 

To hit these buttons and reset the gadget, you’ll need a bent clip or something similarly long and thin. In most cases, the pinhole placement is described in the user guide. Anything from a wireless headset to a high-end laptop like the Lenovo X1 Carbon falls under this category.

4-Unplug the Power cable

Devices like routers and modems that don’t have batteries or buttons for turning them on and off can still be powered cycled by unplugging and reconnecting their power cables. When reattaching a gadget that you’ve just unplugged, give it a full minute to stabilize before doing so. It might not completely die if you put it in again too soon.

5-Remove the battery

Taking out the battery is the first step to try if your gadget seems frozen and won’t turn on. This includes all portable electronic devices that need replaceable batteries, such as cellphones, laptops, cameras, and so on. Make sure the device is not receiving any power by unplugging it before removing the battery. 

Find the replaceable battery, which may be located in a variety of places depending on the type of device you have. The standard technique calls for removing the battery is to wait a couple of seconds, and then replace it. Oftentimes, simply turning on the device again will bring it back to life.

power cycling a laptop using shortcut keys on keyboards
6-Using shortcut keys
  1. Pressing Windows Key + X will show the menu for the Power User.
  2. Use the logout/shutdown icon to exit your account.
  3. Do a fresh start by pressing the Restart button.
7-Using the command prompt method
  1. The Command Prompt can be accessed by hitting the Windows key plus R, or by typing “cmd” into the search bar at the bottom of the screen. This brings up the “Run” the Run dialog. Get out your keyboard and press CTRL+CMDCMDcmd followed by OK.
  2. The shutdown/r or shutdown-r command, followed by the Enter key, will bring up the Command Prompt.
  3. The computer will resume in a moment. Take note that restarting occurs as indicated by the /r as well as the -r argument. By passing the /s flag, you can tell the program to exit.


For Windows 11/10, selecting Reset initiates a complete reinstallation of the operating system, as opposed to restarting or rebooting, which only refreshes the OS. This is a vital feature offered by Windows, but in previous versions, it required making a bootable USB and reinstalling the operating system. Windows operates in a similar fashion, but the ISO file is unnecessary. 

Resetting a Laptop with a Detachable Battery

Another way to power cycle a laptop is to restart it if the battery can be removed. To do that, check these recommendations:

  1. It’s best to power down the PC before removing the cord.
  2. After disconnecting the computer’s cables, take it off of any docking stations or port replicators.
  3. Take the computer’s battery out.
  4. Power off your device by removing the battery and the power cord, then click and hold the power button for about 15 seconds.
  5. Power on the device again by draining the capacitors, replacing the battery, and finally connecting the power cord. Disconnect any extra gadgets you’re not using.
  6. Launch the computer or laptop after.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What keystrokes do I press to reset my computer to factory settings?

Pressing F11 will perform a system restore. Fragmentation causes a slowdown in system performance and makes your hard disk more susceptible to infections. Instead of reinstalling all of your software and operating system, you can simply press the F11 key to return your computer to its original configuration.

Q: Will a complete reset eliminate all of my data?

The phone’s data will be deleted if you perform a factory reset. It’s possible to recover information from your Google Account, but your apps and associated data will be deleted. Make sure your Google Account has your data to recover.

Q: Can you safely perform a laptop’s factory reset?

These programs are likely unnecessary clutter that will eat up space on your hard drive, but they may also pose a security concern; in 2014, the malware was discovered on Lenovo laptops. Therefore, it’s not recommended that you perform a factory reset, which will delete all of your personal files and programs that you’ve installed since first acquiring the computer.

Q: Are laptops resettable?

To perform a hard reset, you must know where to look on a laptop. Most portable electronics, including laptops, feature just one power button in order to save space. The standard procedure for resetting a laptop or other electronic device involves pressing and holding the power button for 10 to 15 seconds.

Q: What’s wrong with my laptop’s display?

A common root cause of this problem is a damaged system file that prevents the OS from starting up, resulting in a blank or black screen. Restarting Windows may help determine if the issue is temporary and can be fixed without intervention. If the issue still continues after doing so, I suggest formatting the hard disk and reinstalling Windows.

Should you Power Cycle a Laptop?

Maintaining a computer’s optimal performance often requires a reboot. It frees up RAM and terminates all processes currently using it. An application’s ability to access your memory persists even after you’ve quit using it. Device shutdown may occasionally happen for laptops and other gadgets to quit working, and the reason isn’t always obvious.

You ought to attempt performing a power cycle before presuming that something is genuinely broken. Turning off the laptop and powering it on again is the main requirement to have a successful power cycle. Doing so will force a reset, which often resolves even the most fundamental issues. Power cycling a laptop can also solve problems with hardware and peripherals.