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How To Power Cycle A PC? [Definitive Guide]

Learn how to fix most of the errors by power cycling the PC. A Step-by-Step Guide to Power cycle Your PC

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While computers are a great source to work efficiently, they sometimes freeze or hang up. Power cycling involves restarting hardware components by cutting off the power supply. It’s commonly used to fix issues like freezes and crashes. It isn’t uncommon for many data centers and server PCs to run for long periods without reboots, which can cause them to slow down. 

Key Takeaways
  • Power cycling is a quick and effective way to troubleshoot and fix issues within a computer.
  • Although power cycles can cause data losses, users only do it when their PCs are frozen.
  • You can power cycle your PC by performing a force reboot. 

WARNING: Conducting power cycles can cause data loss, data corruption, and in severe cases, a storage failure.

Tip: When power cycling your PC to resolve issues, ensure all unsaved work is saved and close all applications before restarting to prevent data loss or corruption.

Power Cycle PC

Power cycling is incredibly simple. Whenever my PC hangs, power cycling tends to solve the issue most of the time, so it’s become my go-to solution. Follow these steps to power cycle your PC easily:

Step 1

Save your work

Before starting the power cycle process, save any unsaved work > close all open applications. This ensures that you don’t lose any important data during the restart.

Step 2

Shut down your PC

Click on the “Start” button (for Windows users) > select “Shut down” from the options menu. For Mac users, click on the Apple logo > select “Shut Down.”

An image in How to shutdown PC with keyboard
An image in How to shutdown PC with keyboard
Step 3

Turn off the power

Locate the power button on your computer > Switch off the power by pressing and holding down the power button for a few seconds until you no longer see any lights or hear any fan noise.

Turn off PC using power button image
Turn off PC using power button – Image Credits [Tech4Gamers]
Step 4

Unplug the power cord

After turning off the power, unplug the power cord from the electrical outlet > Make sure to disconnect any other cables connected to your PC, such as Ethernet cables or peripheral devices.

Image showing to Turn off the power by removing the cord
Turn off the power by removing the cord – (Image by Tech4Gamers)
Step 5

Wait for a few minutes

Allow your PC to sit unplugged for at least one to two minutes. This helps to discharge any remaining electrical charge in the system.

Step 6

Plug in the power cord

Plug the power cord back into the electrical outlet > Reconnect any other cables that you had disconnected earlier.

Reconnecting Power cord (Image By Tech4Gamers)
Step 7

Turn on your PC

Press the power button to turn it back on > You should see lights and hear fan noise indicating that your PC is booting up.

Turn off PC using power button image
Turn on PC using power button – Image Credits [Tech4Gamers]
Step 8

Wait for the boot process

image of booting screen
Wait as it is booting

Allow your PC to boot up completely > Depending on your computer’s specifications, this process may take a few minutes.

Step 9

Test your PC

Once your PC has booted up, open some applications and perform basic tasks to ensure that everything is working as expected. Check for any issues that you were experiencing before power cycling to see if they have been resolved.

Final Words

Knowing the art of power cycling a PC is a valuable skill for easily resolving common issues. Despite minimal risks like data loss, its effectiveness makes it a go-to troubleshooting method. I recommend to perform power cycling every few days, and users on X agreed as well:

Frequently Asked Questions

What does power cycling a PC do?

Power cycling a PC clears RAM and any extra electricity within a motherboard. Unlike a normal reboot, all software and hardware restart anew through a power cycle.

Is power cycling the same as a restart?

A power cycle is a restart. However, unlike normal restarts where software isn’t completely closed, a power cycle closes all hardware and software.

How long should I wait before restarting my PC after I attempt a power cycle?

Depending on your hardware, waiting for anywhere near 30 seconds to 5 minutes should clear all electricity within your computer.

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