How to Emergency Restart Windows 8/8.1

When you restart Windows normally, it goes through all the steps of a regular shutdown. Windows requests all the programs to shutdown, applications having unsaved data (e.g., Microsoft Word with unsaved document) may ask you for saving the files, and then Windows proceeds to shutdown of Windows. But if some or other programs refuse to close down, then Windows gets stuck and does not shutdown for some time after which it may try to forcibly close those programs. But if you have to quickly restart Windows for any reason, then instead of the normal restart, you should choose the emergency restart which forcibly closes all programs without caring about saving any data.

The main difference between the emergency restart and regular restart options in Windows is that in the latter Windows asks and waits for the programs to save the data, while in the former the programs are quickly terminated resulting in a speedier restart of Windows. However, the emergency restart is only for emergency situations when you cannot wait for the regular shutdown process to complete, the regular shutdown process is not working, or you have to immediately go offline on a network.

Here is how you can perform emergency restart in Windows 8/8.1:

  1. Press the key combination Ctrl+Alt+Del on your keyboard.
  2. This will bring up a screen with many options – lock Windows, switch user, sign out, change password and open task manager. Instead of selecting any of these options, hold the Ctrl key and click on the small power icon in the lower right corner of the screen.Windows Emergency Restart
  3. You will see the emergency restart screen where you can click on the OK button to proceed with the emergency restart.Windows Emergency Restart

Windows offers emergency restart feature for the situations when the regular restart is not working properly or is taking too long to finish. This feature does not save any data during Windows restart, so you should save any important data before attempting this.