What’s the difference between Shutdown, Restart or Log off?
For most users, the three main options are shutdown, restart or log off. They each perform different tasks and should be used differently, depending on your needs.
Closes down all applications and turns the computer completely off.
Restart (also called reboot)
Closes down all applications, turns the computer off and then turns it back on and brings you to the logon screen.
Closes down your user applications and logs you off the computer. The computer stays on after you log off and all system applications continue to run in the background.
Which option should I use when?
Each day when you’re ready to go home, you can simply log off your computer which will take you to the CTRL ALT DEL screen ready for when you arrive the next morning.
Alternatively, you could choose the restart option, which will reboot the computer and automatically bring you back to the CTRL ALT DEL screen - although you don’t have to reboot every day, just every 2 or 3 days should suffice.
To conserve power, or if it’s Friday afternoon and you won’t be back in the office until Monday, you should choose shutdown. This will completely turn your computer off and when you arrive Monday morning you’ll have to turn it back on, but it consumes the least power in its shutdown state and there’s no risk of a virus or unauthorised remote access while it’s turned off.
Note: if you work on your work computer from home (i.e. remotely) you should choose restart
Some people prefer to leave their computer on and logged in each night - this is not recommended for two reasons:
security - if your computer is left logged in, the risk of someone, either inside or outside the business, gaining access to sensitive data is greatly increased and should be avoided
speed - overall your computer will perform better if it’s restarted a couple of times a week. This is because the computer has shutdown and startup procedures that it follows during these times which help clean up your computer and keep it running as smoothly as possible.
If you like to leave your computer logged in because it’s too slow to load, this usually indicates a separate issue that needs to be addressed (such as a hardware upgrade or removing unwanted software)