How to ’emergency restart’ on Windows 10

Windows 10 has a secret power option to quickly restart your computer.

Emergency restart is a hidden power option on Windows 10 that you can use when immediate reboot is required. During an “emergency restart” the operating system will terminate any running application, and there will be no warning message to save your work, which means that any unsaved data will be lost.

On Windows 10, emergency restart can come in handy in a number of scenarios, including when the operating system or apps hang, or if you’re currently experiencing problems and may resolve the issue.

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to perform an emergency restart on Windows 10.

How to do an emergency restart

  1. Use the Ctrl + Alt + Delete keyboard shortcut to bring up the menu options.

  2. While pressing and holding the Ctrl key, click the Power button on the bottom-right corner.

    Ctrl + Alt + Del menu
    Ctrl + Alt + Del menu
  3. On the “Emergency restart” screen, click OK to reboot.

    Windows 10 emergency restart
    Windows 10 emergency restart

Once you completed the steps, your computer will restart immediately without saving any current work you’re doing.

Although, you can always press and hold the power button to force shutdown, emergency restart is just another quick way to quickly reboot your Windows 10 device.

While this guide focuses on Windows 10, emergency restart has been part of the operating system for a long time, and you can also use it on Windows 8.1 and Windows 7.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows expert and the Editor-in-Chief who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He is also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 12 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows, software, and related technologies, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me.