Shutdown vs Restart in Windows 10 – They Do Different Things

There is an old cliché within IT support….

“Have you tried switching it off and back on again”?

However when it comes to modern day Windows computers, there is a huge difference between simply “switching it off and back on” and “rebooting.

I provide IT support to business and home users. And yes… I have said those words “have you tried switching it off and back on again”?

However on Windows 10 there is a huge difference between Shutdown & Restart.

On this article I’ll try to explain the difference without going too far into the technicalities.

Let’s split them into two categories first.

  1. Shutdown
  2. Restart

Surely the two have the same effect? You are effectively switching it off and on again…. NO.

On modern computers (Windows 10) there is a feature called Fast Boot (aka Quick Boot). This feature is usually integrated in the system BIOS which means there isn’t a way to turn it off within Windows. That said, you wouldn’t want to turn it off because it is a clever piece of tech that helps your system boot quicker.

Windows 10 Restart vs Shutdown

What Shutdown Does

Shutdown takes a quick image snapshot of your preferences and settings (known as hiberfil.sys files). On the next boot it will load them exactly as you were.

Any problems that you were having will still be there when you switch it back on.

What Restart Does

Restart does a whole lot more than Shutdown. Restart will clear the memory, it’ll refresh the Kernel, it’ll reset the cache, it’ll complete pending updates. It will fix 1001 problems, whereas Shutdown simply copies them to a piece of memory so that your problems load quickly the next time you switch on.

Conclusion In Non Technical Terms

Shutdown = Kick your problem down the park and have to deal with them tomorrow.

Restart = Allow Windows to properly fix the fault for you. Windows 10 is incredibly good at fixing itself. It needs Restart to complete most of these processes.

Restart is your friend.

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