Should I be using one or the other for different things?

  • man halt covers the differences Jan 23 '11 at 22:58
  • have read it, just wanted clairification Jan 26 '11 at 3:42

halt brings the system down to its lowest state, but leaves it powered on.

shutdown brings the system down to its lowest state, and will turn off power (soft power switch) if it can. Most computers now can do so.

reboot restarts the system. It brings the system down to its lowest state, then starts it up again.

Which to do depends on what you want to do. halt is usually to get to a state where you can perform low level maintenance. shutdown is to power the system off, and reboot is to reboot it.

  • 2
    Whenever I use the halt command on Mac OS X and Linux, it completely shuts my system down.
    – Wuffers
    Jan 24 '11 at 0:15
  • 7
    This is slightly incorrect. shutdown can bring the system to any of these states, including single user mode (the default). Also, there is the poweroff command, turning power off (if possible).
    – maxelost
    Jan 24 '11 at 16:45
  • 2
    yeah halt also completely turns my computer off ( Ubuntu server 9.04) but I normally just type halt to poweroff and reboot to restart because its shorter than the shutdown command. Any harm in that? Jan 26 '11 at 3:40
  • @loosecanon - ask your question in a separate question. :-) There is actually an issue with what you suggest, and could cause data loss. Jul 27 '15 at 14:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.