How to Reboot a Dell Computer Laptop

By M. Wade

  • Overview

    Rebooting---or restarting---your Dell laptop refers to shutting down the operating system and turning off the laptop's power in order to power the system back on. You must reboot your Dell laptop when it experiences a critical error, such as a frozen operating system or a blue screen, after installing or uninstalling software, and after installing system updates. Knowing how to restart your Dell laptop through its operating system and how to reboot it manually will help your laptop and your software operate properly, and temporarily recover after critical errors.
    How to Reboot a Dell Computer Laptop
    How to Reboot a Dell Computer Laptop
    • Step 1

      Restart through the operating system. The latest Dell laptops come equipped with a Windows-based operating system, typically Windows XP or a later version. To restart your laptop using Windows, first click on the "Start" menu at the bottom left of the screen. (In Vista, this is replaced by a circle icon with a Windows logo.) Next, click the power icon (in XP) or the small button with a right-facing triangle on it (Vista) to access the options for powering down the laptop. Select "Restart." This will shut down the laptop and automatically turn the laptop back on.
    • Step 2

      Push and hold the "Power" button. To manually restart the Dell laptop, hold down the "Power" button, which is typically located above the keyboard. Do not release the button until the laptop's screen turns black. You might also hear the laptop's fan and power supply shut off.


    • Step 3

      Wait at least 30 seconds. Do not turn the laptop back on immediately after turning off the power. Powering on and off too quickly can cause severe damage to the motherboard and can otherwise damage your laptop's critical hardware components.
    • Step 4

      Press the "Power" button again once you have waited at least 30 seconds to turn the laptop back on. Pay special attention to your laptop when the operating system begins to load so that you can note any errors or other abnormal changes.
    • Step 5

      Restart through the operating system to avoid other errors. When your operating system has completely loaded, and after all of your startup programs have loaded, reboot your laptop through the operating system. This will help prevent other errors from occurring after a manual reboot because a manual reboot can cause minor errors and lost data in software applications.
    • Skill: Easy
    • Tip: If your laptop regularly experiences critical errors, such as freezing, seek the assistance of a qualified computer repair specialist who can diagnose and resolve the problem.
    • Warning:
    • Manually rebooting a computer can result in the loss of any unsaved data you were using prior to rebooting.

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