Back in the days of MS-DOS and Windows systems running on top of MS-DOS (Windows 95/98), it was pretty common to use the Ctrl+Alt+Del hotkey to restart the PC. If a program or the system itself was not running, we could use this special hotkey to restart the PC instantly.
Starting with Windows XP, this key changed the behavior and now it showed a special screen from which we could choose options to shutdown, restart, log out, launch task manager and so on. But if we choose shutdown from this screen, it will initiate the regular shutdown sequence which ensures closing of all the processes normally.
In the case you have to restart your PC in an emergency (when system is not responding or a program is using too much of the system resources), we can use the Emergency Restart feature found on Windows 10 and Windows 11 systems. It is similar to the good old Ctrl+Alt+Del hotkey used on the MS-DOS systems. It restarts the PC instantly without waiting or closing any programs.
In order to use the Emergency Restart of Windows 10/11, we can use these steps:
- Press the Ctrl+Alt+Del hotkey.
- On the screen that appears, hold the Ctrl key on your keyboard and then left-click on the power button displayed in the lower-right corner of your screen.
- You will see a message on your screen that reminds you that if you proceed, any unsaved data will be lost and that this method should be used if nothing else is working. Click on the OK button to restart your PC.
This method should not be used casually. This can lead to loss of data on your hard disk drives if some programs have been using the files stored on that hard disk drive. It happens because the above mentioned method does not wait for closing the file handles and simply restarts the PC.