How to Reset My Computer

by Jason Artman ; Updated September 28, 2017

When things go haywire with a computer, a full-system reset is often the most hassle-free way to restore normal operation. Resetting a computer forces all programs to close and reloads the operating system from scratch. Reset the computer as a first troubleshooting step when your computer exhibits a symptom that you are unable to resolve.

Click "Start," and then click the white arrow in the lower-right corner of the menu in Windows Vista and Windows 7. In Windows XP, click "Start" and then "Turn Off Computer." Click "Restart." If this fails to reset the computer, continue.

Press the Windows logo and R keys simultaneously. In the Run dialog box that appears, type "shutdown -r -t 01" without quotation marks, and press Enter. This should cause the computer to reset after waiting one second. If this fails, continue.

Push the computer's power button, and hold it in until the power shuts off. Push the button again to turn the computer back on. Note that this should be done only as a last resort, as forcing the computer to shut off may cause files that are in use to become corrupted.

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About the Author

Jason Artman has been a technical writer since entering the field in 1999 while attending Michigan State University. Artman has published numerous articles for various websites, covering a diverse array of computer-related topics including hardware, software, games and gadgets.

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