How to Restart Windows 11

How to Restart Windows 11

A restart can be a quick and easy solution to a lot of PC problems. There are many ways you can restart your computer in Windows 11. Let’s look at them together.

Start Menu

Most people restart their computer through the Power button menu in the Start menu.

  1. Click on Start or press the Windows Key on the keyboard.
  2. Click the Power button.
  3. Select Restart from the options that appear.
Click on the Start menu’s Power button to access the Restart, Shutdown, Sleep, and Log out options.

Alt + F4

Alt + F4 on the keyboard sends a signal to end the active application. However, you can use this combination with the OS instead of an app.

Restart Windows Alt F4
Click on an empty spot on the Windows desktop, and press Alt + F4. Windows will show the Shut down Windows dialog.
  1. Click on an empty spot on the Windows desktop and press Alt + F4 on your keyboard.
  2. The Shut Down Windows dialog will appear on the screen.
  3. Choose from the pull-down menu that you want to restart your computer.
  4. Press Enter or click OK.

Windows Key + X

The Windows Key + X keyboard combination displays the Windows Quick Link menu. This menu allows instant access to crucial Windows functions and applications. Among them, the options to exit or terminate the operating system.

Restart Windows Windows Key X
Use the Windows Key + X key combination to access the Quick Link menu. The submenu that appears when choosing Shut down or sign out gives access to all options for terminating Windows, among which you’ll also find Restart.
  1. Press Windows Key + X. The Quick Link menu will show up on your screen.
  2. Choose the Shutdown or sign-out entry.
  3. Select Restart from the submenu.

Shell Command

Most people would prefer to click on buttons and menus than type commands. Do you prefer keyboard input to GUIs? Have you already got a terminal on your screen? Then, typing two words can be faster than searching where to click. Additionally, the following approach offers more control over how your computer will restart.

  1. Using an active command line terminal or PowerShell, you can restart your computer with the command:
    shutdown / r

    If you omit the /r parameter, the computer will shut down instead of restarting.

    Restart Windows Shell Command
    You can restart Windows using a command, using either the classic Command Prompt (CMD) or the newer PowerShell. Run either, type “shutdown /r”, and press Enter on your keyboard to issue the command and restart your PC.

  2. Suppose you do not want to restart your computer immediately. In that case, you can set a delay with the /t parameter. Type the time delay until the restart (in seconds) after it. For example, would you want your computer to restart in two minutes? You could use the command:
    shutdown /r /t 120
  3. Similarly, if you want to restart immediately, you can use:
    shutdown /r /t 0
  4. If you’ve set a restart but changed your mind, you can cancel it with the parameter “abort” or, in short, /a. Issue the following command before it’s time to restart:
    Shutdown /a

Desktop Shortcut

Shortcuts on the Windows desktop are an easy visual way of executing commands. As we saw above, it is possible to restart your computer with such a command. Nothing prevents you from assigning this command to an easily accessible desktop shortcut.

Restart Windows Desktop Shortcut
Add “shutdown /r” to a desktop shortcut for an even quicker way to restart your PC.
  1. Right-click on an empty spot on the desktop.
  2. Choose New and, from the submenu that appears, Shortcut.
  3. Ignore the prompt to select the shortcut’s target. Instead, type the restart command we saw above (shutdown / r).
  4. Click Next and give your new shortcut a name (like Restart).
  5. Click Finish to complete your shortcut.

Login & Lock Screen

Another way to restart your computer is from the Login screen or the Windows Lock screen. You open the login screen using the shortcut CTRL + Alt + Delete. This shortcut is useful when your computer is stuck and you need to restart it.

Restart Windows Login and Lock Screen
Windows also shows its familiar Power button on both the Log-in and Lock screens. From here, you can access the same OS-termination options, including Restart.
  1. Whether you’re on the login or lock screen, you will see a familiar Power button.
  2. Click on it and choose Restart.

New Beginnings

Windows 11 doesn’t force us to restart as much as its ancestors used to. However, an occasional reboot might still assist with problems and help our PCs run smoother. Yes, it is annoying to restart your computer because of a memory leak or software update. Still, with so many options available, we’re sure you’ll find a painless approach to restarting.

Erik is a full-time product quality engineer at the IBM who has a passion for teaching others (and always learning) about technology. He has a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Eindhoven University of Technology. Erik is the chief editor for Windows, Linux and coding tutorials.

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