I've recently had problems with my work computer not recognizing either of its attached screens. I've also had problems with my home computer "locking" the mouse to one app, and no longer acknowledging clicks on, say, the start menu. In both cases the computer is still running, and I can close apps and so forth with the keyboard. Restarting usually addresses the problem.

What's the simplest way to restart a Windows 7 computer by the keyboard alone? Something consistent across all versions would be super.

In Win XP, I believe it was Ctrl-Alt-Delete; pause; Alt-R for Restart; Enter to select. But on 7 Ctrl-Alt-Delete no longer brings up the same menu. I'd use Ctrl-Alt-Esc for the Task Manager, but it no longer has a Restart menu (at least on Win 7 Home).


Found this article that provides the following advice. Tested and works on Win7 Pro 64 but haven't tested on any other versions.

Press Windows key. Release it.
Press (right arrow key twice).
Press .
Hit Enter.

Also can do Windows R.

  • I like it! The shutdown answers are great since they also give you a way to shut down rather than restart, but this is slightly simpler. On my home PC, it looks like just Windows | Right | Enter will do it, presumably because my last use of that menu was for a restart. Three keystrokes, can't be beat! – user49214 May 21 '12 at 13:07
  • I have to press UP twice at the end... anyone else? – Caffeinated Nov 25 '15 at 16:36
  • @Adel -- just checked it again and still the same. Pressing up twice for me would take me to 'Lock' – jacobsee Dec 3 '15 at 1:29
  • In localized (non-English) version of Windows it may not be "R". The first way seems more robust. – Kamil Maciorowski Aug 18 '16 at 12:28
  • @Adel, If you have hibernate enabled you will have to press the up arrow twice. It also may shuffle around depending on what action you have assigned as the default power button action, as that is moved to the button's action. – Nick Oct 25 '16 at 15:15

Hitting the power button should initiate a proper Windows shutdown.

Another option is the Shutdown command. You can either hit Win+R to bring up the run dialog, and type something like shutdown -r -f -t 00 to force a reboot immediately.

You may need to be logged in as an administrator for this to work.

Perhaps you could also create a .BAT batch file to run the shutdown.exe command, and then pin a shortcut to it to the task-bar. Once that's done you should be able to use Win + a number key related to the position to the pin on the task-bar to run it.

Check out this question for more info on that: Usage of Windows+Number combination on Windows 7

Another alternative is that you can keep hitting Alt+F4 to shutdown programs in order, and once you're at the desktop and hit it, Windows will pop-up the shutdown dialog you can navigate by KB.

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  • 1
    You can create a shortcut with "shutdown.exe -r -t 00" rather than a batch file and then assign shortcut keys such at CTRL+ALT+R - easy to remember once set up but does require a degree of planning ahead – BJ292 May 20 '12 at 15:46
  • 4
    You can also just hit Win+D (or Win+M) to minimise all windows and then Alt+F4 to pop up the shutdown dialogue. – Indrek May 20 '12 at 17:23

Use Win+R, then type

shutdown /r /f

then hit enter

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Alt+F4 from the desktop should give you options, such as Sleep, Hibernate, Restart, Shutdown. By Default, it will have "Shut Down" selected.