Ask Difference

Reboot vs. Restart — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on October 25, 2023
Reboot refers to restarting a computer system, while Restart means beginning an operation or process again from the start.
Reboot vs. Restart — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Reboot and Restart


Key Differences

A Reboot typically pertains to computer systems, specifically to the process of turning off and then turning on the system again. It's commonly employed to refresh the system and rectify minor software glitches. On the other hand, Restart is a broader term that can be applied to any operation or process, not necessarily computers, indicating that something is being initiated again from the beginning.
In the realm of technology, when we use the term Reboot, we are often referring to the act of powering down a computer or device and then powering it back up. This action can help in resolving certain issues that may arise due to prolonged use. Conversely, Restart can be used in similar contexts but isn't limited to the tech domain. For instance, you can restart a game, a conversation, or even a task.
Though Reboot and Restart can sometimes be used interchangeably, especially in the context of computers, their application is distinct in various scenarios. For example, in a general context, you might restart a movie, but you wouldn't reboot it. Yet, when speaking about a computer, using reboot or restart to describe the act of turning the machine off and on again is fairly common.
The emphasis of Reboot is on the cycle of shutting down and starting up, commonly linked to computers and electronics. Whereas, Restart emphasizes beginning anew or from a starting point, making it applicable in various situations beyond just electronics.

Comparison Chart


Restarting a computer system.
Beginning an operation or process again.


Primarily technological.
General; can be applied in various contexts.


Computers, electronic devices.
Computers, games, tasks, conversations.


Shutting down and starting up.
Beginning anew from a starting point.


Mostly limited to tech domain.
Broader in application.

Compare with Definitions


Restarting a computer or electronic device.
I had to reboot my laptop to install the updates.


Beginning an operation again from its initial point.
After the error, I had to restart the software installation.


Refreshing a system to rectify minor glitches.
Sometimes a quick reboot can solve the software issue.


Initiating a process anew.
If you mess up, just restart the game.


A revival or remake of a film or series.
The new film is a reboot of the classic 80s series.


Resuming after a pause or interruption.
The match will restart after the halftime break.


Powering down and then powering up a system.
My phone was acting up, so I gave it a reboot.


Reintroducing a previous process.
We had to restart the discussions after the new data came in.


Initiating a fresh cycle of operation.
The server undergoes a reboot every Sunday at midnight.


Refreshing an operation or task.
I had to restart my computer after the update.


To turn (a computer's operating system) off and then on again; restart.


To start again or anew
Restarted the engine after it stalled.


To bring back (an earlier film or television show), usually with a new cast and updated script.


To begin operation again.


The act or an instance of rebooting a computer's operating system.


The act of starting something again.
After the restart of my browser, the problem went away.


A film or television show that is a remake of an earlier production, typically with a different or refreshed viewpoint.


(computing) To reboot.


(computing) An instance of rebooting.


Start an engine again, for example


(by extension) A fresh start.


Take up or begin anew;
We resumed the negotiations


(narratology) The restarting of a series' storyline, discarding all previous continuity.


(widely considered a misuse) The restarting of a series' storyline without discarding previous continuity.


To execute a computer's boot process, effectively resetting the computer and causing the operating system to reload, possibly after a system failure.
We need to reboot the system after installing these updates.
The system reboots every weekend after updates are installed.


(by extension) To start afresh.
They rebooted the TV series, but it's even worse than the original.


Restart; to return to a an initial configuration or state.


Cause to load (an operating system) and start the initial processes;
Boot your computer

Common Curiosities

Why might one need to "Reboot" a computer?

To refresh the system, install updates, or rectify minor software glitches.

Can "Restart" refer to resuming something after a pause?

Yes, "Restart" can mean resuming an operation after an interruption.

Are "Reboot" and "Restart" interchangeable?

In computer contexts, they often are, but "Reboot" is tech-specific while "Restart" has a broader application.

What happens during a computer "Restart"?

The computer system is turned off and then turned back on.

Can "Restart" be used in contexts other than technology?

Yes, "Restart" can be applied to any operation or process, like restarting a game or conversation.

What's the primary context for "Reboot"?

"Reboot" primarily pertains to restarting computer systems.

Is "Reboot" exclusive to technology?

While its primary context is technology, "Reboot" can also be used in contexts like film revivals.

Why might someone "Restart" a task?

To correct mistakes, refresh the process, or due to external interruptions.

Can "Restart" imply beginning from the very start of a process?

Yes, "Restart" often means initiating an operation again from its initial point.

Which term is broader in application?

"Restart" is broader, as it can be applied in various contexts beyond just technology.

Is "Reboot" used in the film industry?

Yes, a "Reboot" can refer to a revival or remake of a film or series.

Can a device "Reboot" on its own?

Some devices might auto-reboot for updates or system checks.

Is "Restart" always intentional?

No, sometimes systems or processes might restart due to errors or glitches.

Which term emphasizes more on shutting down and starting up?

"Reboot" emphasizes the cycle of shutting down and starting up, especially in computers.

Do both "Reboot" and "Restart" always refer to technology?

While "Reboot" primarily does, "Restart" can be used in multiple contexts beyond tech.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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