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Many times I would call tech support, and they would say turn off the laptop (take out the battery, hold down the power button, and try turning it back on. I have always wondered what purpose this serves. I recently read a article specifying for mac computers that this resets the SMC. Does doing this with a windows PC have the same effect? Is there a SMC inside all computers? What effect does this action have on non mac pcs? Is it the same for desktops?

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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

It drains all residual power from the motherboard and memory modules, what that actually resets depends on the design of the motherboard.

As Gateway explains it:

The process drains stored electrical energy in some critical circuits on the motherboard. These circuits start the computer properly.

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I'm not sure if its universal but its also true of thinkpads, and some other systems (according to the comments and this post about HPs ) and apparently even tablets.

Reasons range from ACPI resets, to static removal, to MAGIC. Its worth trying out, but dosen't always work in my experience

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also on some android tablet type items it slamms them off when hung. On Desktop PCs depending on how the Setting in windows and bios , the Off switch performs 2 functions, Quick press , is proper shut-down, Longer than 4 second press is SLAM the PSU into off state. really bad thing to do when running. Then when having Bios issues usually when overclocking, Slamming the power off , can drop the bios back into "being able to post" by temporarily setting default/standard bios settings. It doesnt reset the saved bios. It also depends on the Bios/motherboard –  Psycogeek Feb 16 '12 at 9:47
    
This may seem like a silly question, but doesn't static destroy ICs, can it actually just render them temporarily useless? –  rubixibuc Feb 16 '12 at 9:47
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Honestly? The static explaination sounds almost as bad as the MAGIC explainations. ACPI resets are the least j00j00 explaination i have heard. –  Journeyman Geek Feb 16 '12 at 9:53
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