What is the command to restart Dell laptop?

There are a few different commands that can be used to restart a Dell laptop depending on the operating system installed. The most common operating systems found on Dell laptops are Windows and Linux.

In Windows, the basic command to restart a Dell laptop is to click on the Start menu, click the Power button, and then click Restart. This will initiate a full restart of the Windows operating system.

For Linux systems, the command will depend on the specific distribution but commonly used restart commands include ‘reboot’, ‘shutdown -r now’, and ‘systemctl reboot’.

In this article, we will provide an overview of the most common restart commands for Dell laptops running Windows and Linux operating systems. We will also provide some additional troubleshooting tips for situations where a normal restart is not working as expected.

Restarting a Dell Laptop in Windows

The standard way to restart any Windows laptop, including Dell models, is through the Start menu. Here are the steps:

  1. Click on the Start button in the bottom left corner of the screen (or press the Windows key on the keyboard).
  2. In the Start menu, click the Power button.
  3. In the Power menu, click ‘Restart’ to initiate a restart.

The Windows operating system will then go through the restart process, shutting down any open programs and restarting the laptop.

This method will work on all recent versions of Windows including Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7.

Some additional restart options in the Windows Power menu include:

  • ‘Shut Down’ – Shuts down the laptop fully.
  • ‘Sleep’ – Puts the laptop into a low power sleep mode.
  • ‘Hibernate’ – Saves any open documents and programs to disk then powers down.

So the ‘Restart’ option does a full reboot of Windows while the other options just power down or sleep the laptop.

Restarting from the Windows Run Command

Another way to restart a Dell laptop in Windows is by using the Run command. Here are the steps:

  1. Hold down the Windows key and press R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type in ‘shutdown /r’ and hit Enter to restart the system.

This will immediately initiate a reboot by directly running the Windows ‘shutdown’ command with the ‘/r’ parameter to restart.

The Run dialog can also be accessed by typing ‘Run’ into the Windows search box or Start menu.

Restarting from Command Prompt

You can also restart a Dell laptop from the Windows Command Prompt. To open the Command Prompt, press Windows+X (or right-click the Start button) and select ‘Command Prompt’.

Then use this command:

shutdown /r /t 0

This will restart the laptop immediately without any delay or confirmation prompt.

The ‘/t 0’ parameter restarts immediately while a higher number like ‘/t 60’ would add a 60 second delay before restarting.

Restarting from Task Manager

The Windows Task Manager provides another way to restart a Dell laptop. Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open the Task Manager.

Go to the ‘File’ menu, choose ‘Run new task’ and type in ‘shutdown /r’ then click OK. This will run the shutdown command through Task Manager and restart the system.

Restarting a Dell Laptop in Linux

Most Linux distributions have multiple ways to restart a Dell laptop from the command line. Here are some of the most common.

Reboot Command

The ‘reboot’ command will immediately restart the system:


Shutdown Command

‘Shutdown’ can also restart using the ‘-r’ flag:

shutdown -r now

The ‘now’ parameter causes an immediate restart. Omitting ‘now’ will schedule a restart after 1 minute.

Systemctl Reboot

On systemd-based Linux distributions like Ubuntu, the ‘systemctl’ command can be used:

systemctl reboot

This will immediately reboot the system using systemd.

Restart from GUI

Most Linux desktop environments like GNOME also provide graphical shortcuts to reboot the system:

  • Click the Power button then choose ‘Restart’
  • Go to the ‘System’ or ‘Settings’ menu then select ‘Restart’

The exact menu locations depend on the specific Linux distribution and desktop environment.

Restarting from the Dell BIOS

If Windows or Linux is completely unresponsive, you can restart a Dell laptop from the low-level BIOS interface.

When powering on the laptop, press F2 repeatedly to enter the BIOS setup utility. Navigate to the ‘Restart’ option using the arrow keys and press Enter to restart.

This will initiate a reboot before the operating system starts loading. It can help recover from serious crashes or boot issues.

Restarting from a Bootable USB Drive

If the operating system on a Dell laptop is corrupted and unable to boot normally, restarting from a bootable USB recovery drive can help reboot the system.

To create a bootable USB:

  1. Download a Windows or Linux recovery image ISO file.
  2. Use utility software like Rufus to write the ISO onto a USB flash drive.
  3. Boot the Dell laptop from the USB drive by pressing F12 on startup and selecting the drive.
  4. Follow on-screen prompts to restart the laptop from the recovery environment.

This allows rebooting the OS without relying on the built-in hard drive.

Troubleshooting Restart Issues

In some cases, restarting a Dell laptop may fail or become unresponsive during the restart process. Here are some potential solutions:

Windows Automatic Repair

If Windows gets stuck or repeats boot failures, it may automatically launch a Startup Repair process. Allow this to run and it may fix corrupt system files that are preventing a restart.

Boot into Safe Mode

Restarting and booting into Windows Safe Mode can help resolve software issues preventing normal reboots. Repeatedly press F8 on startup to access Safe Mode.

Reset BIOS to Default Settings

Issues like overclocking or misconfigured BIOS settings can sometimes interfere with restarting. Resetting the BIOS to factory defaults may help the system reboot properly.

Check for Hardware Issues

Defective RAM, failed hard drives, and other hardware problems can prevent successful restarts. If software troubleshooting doesn’t work, test the laptop hardware for faults.

Remove Peripherals and External Devices

Sometimes external devices can cause boot issues. Detach any peripherals like USB drives, printers, or other accessories before attempting to restart.

Perform System Diagnostics

Dell laptops include built-in diagnostics tools that can be used to check for hardware issues. Press F12 on startup and run ePSA or Dell Diagnostics to see if any errors are reported.

Contact Dell Technical Support

If you are still unable to restart the laptop, contact Dell tech support for further troubleshooting assistance tailored to your specific model and issues observed.


In summary, the standard restart command for Dell laptops depends on the operating system:

  • Windows – Use the Start Menu Power options or run the ‘shutdown /r’ command.
  • Linux – Use ‘reboot’, ‘shutdown -r’, or ‘systemctl reboot’ commands.

If the installed OS is unresponsive, alternative restart options include using the BIOS, a bootable USB drive, or Dell diagnostics tools.

Following the appropriate restart procedure for your specific operating system and laptop model will allow rebooting your Dell system when required. Contact Dell support if you encounter any persistent issues restarting the device.