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?


2 Answers 2


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.


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

  • 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, 2012 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, 2012 at 9:47
  • 1
    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, 2012 at 9:53

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