It is recommended to restart after installing software or editing system files. So what about shutting down or logging off? Will the same changes take place?

  • restart and shutdown is the same, log off is not.
    – Moab
    Jun 3, 2021 at 17:54
  • It depends.. you have esentially several players here. There is a registry key called "PendingFileRenameOperations" that doesn't get invoked until a reboot. You also have a RunOnce key that is the same. Chances are, if there is nothing listed in one of these keys, then reboot is not needed. There are some exceptions though.. making this difficult to give you a simple yes or no answer. Jun 3, 2021 at 17:55
  • Actually in windows doing a shutdown and then a normal boot procedure is not the same as doing a reboot. Doing a reboot is a „deeper“ reset of all system processes as a shutdown. This is due to a windows feature called fastboot. Jun 3, 2021 at 18:03
  • Fastboot is an android thing @DarkDiamond. Scemantics I know but it is called FastStart for windows. And to see more about what DarkDiamond is talking about, look here Jun 3, 2021 at 18:13
  • @Señor CMasMas ok, terminology, sorry. I only wanted to help… Jun 3, 2021 at 19:37

1 Answer 1


In the days of old, restarting was 100% equivalent to shutting down and then powering up again. As far as Windows is concerned, at least.

However, nowadays Windows has a feature called “Fast Startup”. IIRC it is enabled by default at least on desktop computers. It changes what shutting down does; instead of shutting down, you are logged out and the system then hibernates. Then when you power on again, it will not boot but rather resume.

You can make sure you are actually shutting down regardless by holding Shift when activating any of the Windows shut down buttons/options.

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