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  • Writer's pictureBen Lake

Difference Between Restart & Shutdown

Updated: Nov 4, 2022

If you use Windows 10, you are familiar with the three power options: Sleep, Restart, and Shutdown. And you’ll probably remember from prior advice that I recommend you restart your computer at least once a week to allow necessary updates to be applied, especially if you normally leave your computer on 24x7. But sometimes I’ll get the astute question: Is there a difference between using Restart, and Shutdown and turning back on again? The short answer is “largely, no” – but I wouldn’t be writing this article if that were the end of the story! A Shutdown operation actually takes a snapshot of certain settings and hidden processes, and then restores their previous state when you turn the computer on again. This feature is called “Fast Boot” and is enabled by default on most modern computers. A Restart, on the other hand, actually ends those hidden processes and starts them over again. To the user there is likely no discernable difference between Shutdown and Restart, but Restart may help solve an issue that Shutdown can’t. In short, keep using Shutdown if you won’t be using the computer for a while, but use Restart if you were just going to turn the computer on again after a shutdown.

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