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Definition: reboot

To reload the operating system and start over. A reboot often solves many software problems in computers, smartphones, tablets, cable boxes and many other electronics devices, because it resets the system. People have even had to reboot a ceiling fan by unplugging and plugging it back into its AC source in order for the wireless remote to work again.

Restart vs. Shut Down/Start
If a Restart option in an electronic device is selected from the menu, the current applications are closed, and the operating system is reloaded. This is a "warm boot," which does not clear internal RAM memory. When Shut Down is chosen, and the unit is turned back on, this "cold boot" clears memory and reloads the OS, which is often more effective for solving problems than restarting. See cold boot, clean boot and boot.

A Note from the Author
Increasingly, everything we deal with has to be rebooted. In 2021, our 20-year-old oven stopped working for the first time with an error message about a failing temperature sensor displayed on the control panel. After turning the power off for several hours and turning it back on, the message went away and the oven worked.

A Solution for Rebooting Your TV Set-Top Box
Cable boxes and streaming boxes no longer have an off switch so they can be updated in the middle of the night. When they exhibit erratic behavior, which they often do, a remote control power bar or switch can be used to reboot the unit instead of pulling the power plug from the wall outlet. There are many varieties available such as this Magicfly unit from Walmart.