Windows 10 Basics: Boot Up, Restart, Sleep, and Shut Down

Knowing Windows 10 basics doesn’t have to be a pain in the neck. If you have a new computer or laptop with an operating system you’re not familiar with, it’s only natural to feel confused. Let these basic steps guide you on how to boot up, restart, sleep and shut down your new Windows 10 computer.

Windows 10 Basics: Turning Your Computer On And Off Safely

Windows 10 Desktop

Windows 10 Desktop | Windows 10 Basics: Boot Up, Restart, Sleep, and Shut Down

Before getting into the Windows 10 basics of turning your computer on and off, you have to familiarize yourself with some of the images you’ll see on the screen.

Let’s look at your Windows 10 screen or  your “Desktop.” When you open a program, like Google Chrome or Skype, a “Window” opens on the “Desktop.”

When you first logged in to your computer, you might have noticed little pictures or icons on your desktop with an arrow on each photo’s left corner (see photo). Those are shortcuts to different parts of your computer’s memory. The memory can store pictures, documents, and even file folders for organizing.

A software program such as Google’s Chrome internet browser is also stored in its memory along with other programs such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Reader, or iTunes. The software is what your computer keeps in its memory. Hardware is what you can physically touch like your keyboard or CPU.

Windows 10 Task Bar

Another part of your desktop that you need to know is the line across the bottom of Desktop called the “Task Bar.” Usually, standard software icons can be found on the Task Bar. You can open these tasks by clicking on them. When you open a program like Chrome, there will be a transparent box drawn around it. When you exit Chrome, the faint box disappears, but the icon remains. We’ll discuss customizing your Task Bar in another lesson.

Windows 10 Task Bar | Windows 10 Basics: Boot Up, Restart, Sleep, and Shut Down

On the right side of the Task Bar, Windows has a “Notification Area” where you see the time and a few other items Microsoft deems important. In the left corner is the white Windows Start button. You will be using that button for today’s lesson. Throughout our lessons, the greater-than symbol ( > ) will be used between the first and second items, so you know what to click, such as “Windows Start>Power.”

Windows Start: How To Boot Up Your Personal Computer | Windows 10 Basics: Boot Up, Restart, Sleep, and Shut Down

Windows Start: How To Boot Up Your Personal Computer

Let’s review a technical term: “boot up.”

In the Midwest, “boot up” may have different connotations, but in the IT world, it means to turn on your device to make it ready to use. For example, if you want to use your phone, you unlock it. On your computer, on the other hand, you log in with your username and password.

After pressing the on the button on your laptop or computer’s CPU, the Windows logo will appear on the screen. This means that your computer is set up the operating system for you. If you have a password set for your PC, it will prompt you for one after the Windows logo disappears. Sign in with your username and password. Once your Desktop shows up on screen, then you’re all set.

You might have to wait for a few programs to boot up before you can properly use your computer fully.

Windows Restart: How to Restart or Reboot Your Computer

Another Windows 10 basics you need to know is how to reboot your computer. “Rebooting” is another word for restarting. If you choose to “restart” or “reboot” your computer, it will turn itself completely off, then turn itself back on and wait for you to enter your username and password.

Let’s practice rebooting the computer – read this paragraph to the end before you do it. Make sure everything but this site is closed by saving any open documents on your computer. Close all the “windows” except this page.

Click the Windows icon then Start>Power>Restart. Your computer will tell you Chrome (or your internet browser) is still open, then shut itself down and restart. You’ll need to log back in when your computer restarts and this window are closed. Come back later and tell us if it worked before we move on to our next lessons about the Task Bar and finding your stuff. Ready…. Windows Start>Power>Restart!

Windows Shut Down: How to Properly Shut Down Your Personal Computer

We already talked about two steps in the Windows 10 basics, so let’s move on to third. How to shut down your computer.

If you command your computer to shut down while you’re in the middle of typing a letter, the computer will remind you that your document has not been saved, and it will prompt you to cancel shutting down so you can return to your document.

Prompt” is another technical term – it means the computer is waiting for you to answer a question or do something. Once all the programs are closed, the computer carefully “parks” its internal parts safely and shuts down. A long, long time ago, we used to have to command the computer to “park” before throwing the off switch. Thankfully, that’s automatic now and one thing less to remember when shutting down your computer.

On the other hand, if you have a big desk computer and someone pulls the plug, or the power goes out suddenly, the computer will take longer to boot up because it is checking for errors. In case you are wondering, your laptop is programmed to put itself to sleep before your battery runs out.

Shut Down Tips

Speaking of turning off your computer, NEVER just switch off a computer or turn off its power source. To properly turn off your computer, click on the Windows Start icon at the bottom left of your screen (that little white window). Then click the button that appears just above the Windows Start icon; it looks like an on/off power button (see image below).

If you hover your mouse over that button, the word “Power” will appear – most icons and menu items are like that on a computer. When you click it, a new “menu” will appear with choices.  When you click the Windows Start>Power icon on your computer, you will have three choices. Sleep, Restart and Shut Down.

Shut Down Tips | Windows 10 Basics: Boot Up, Restart, Sleep, and Shut Down

How to Put Your Windows 10 Computer To Sleep

In the computer terms, “sleep” means the computer will stop everything and turn off the monitor to save energy. Although any current documents or websites “should” be there when you come back, there are no guarantees in life. Always get in the habit of saving any documents or exiting websites when you are leaving your computer for a break.

Even if you don’t command your computer to sleep, it will put itself to sleep when it is bored. To wake your computer up from sleep mode, simply press any key or click your mouse. I prefer to use the “Escape” key – usually, the top left a key on your keyboard labeled “Esc.”

Let’s put our computer to sleep for a very short nap. Leave this window to your internet browser open. Don’t try it yet. After you read this paragraph, click Windows Start>Power>Sleep. After everything goes dark, press the “Escape” (Esc) key on your keyboard, and everything will come back just as it looks now. Write that down if you need to or just put your finger on the “Esc” key until you need it. Ready…. Windows Start>Power>Sleep (then wait and Esc)!

How to Put Your Windows 10 Computer To Sleep | Windows 10 Basics: Boot Up, Restart, Sleep, and Shut Down

See, it’s just like waking up from a good sleep. Everything will be just the way you left it.

If you’ve already got the Windows 10 basics down pat and you want to dress up your computer after upgrading the operating system. Check out this video for tips!

Now you’re ready to restart, shutdown, and sleep your Windows 10 Computer. Simple enough, right? You’ll master all the Windows 10 basics in no time.

Do you want more tips about Windows 10 or other operating systems? Ask us in the comments section below!

Up Next: 9 Must-Have Android Apps for First Time Users

Editor’s Note – This post was originally published on December 12, 2016 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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