How to Reboot a Computer Manually

By M. Wade

Whenever your computer's operating system crashes, freezes or displays a blue error screen, you will not be able to move the mouse or use the keyboard to properly shut down the computer through the operating system. Instead, you will have to manually reboot the system. Knowing how to reboot your computer manually when your operating system experiences a critical error will ensure that you do not damage your computer's power source or the motherboard.

Things You'll Need

  • Personal computer or a Mac

Step 1

Press and hold the power button. Hold the power button down for 5 seconds or until the computer's power is off. The computer monitor will go black and may display a message indicating that it is not receiving a signal. You will also hear the computer's fan and power supply shut down.

Step 2

Wait 30 seconds. Waiting at least 30 seconds before powering the system back up will prevent your power supply, motherboard and other critical hardware from sustaining damage from powering on and off too quickly.

Step 3

Press the power button to start the computer. Once the computer begins to power up, note any error messages or other strange messages or behaviors. These may help you troubleshoot the cause of the earlier critical failure.

Step 4

Properly restart. When your computer has fully loaded all of its startup programs after the manual reboot, restart the computer through the operating system. If you are using Windows, do this by clicking the Start button to access the power menu and select "Restart." If you are using a Mac, restart the system by clicking the Apple menu and selecting "Restart."

Tips & Warnings

  • Some older computers may have a restart button. It is a smaller button located on the front panel of the computer, near the main power button. If your computer has a restart button, simply press and release it to manually restart your computer. Being in the habit of regularly saving your files will help you minimize the data you will lose in case you have to manually reboot your computer.
  • Manually rebooting a computer will cause you to lose any unsaved data you may have had open before you rebooted the computer and may also corrupt certain files. If your computer regular experiences critical errors, such as a blue screen, you should seek the assistance of a computer repair specialist who will diagnose and resolve the cause of the error.