How to Restart Windows 8 without Restarting

Every now and then you’ll install an application or do something to your computer that requires a reboot.  If you’re the impetuous type and can’t wait for your computer to restart then you should try this little trick that virtually accomplishes the same thing as a full restart.

It involves a little fun with the Task Manager.  I wrote an article about some of the cool things you can do in the Task Manager, but for now we’re just focusing on our rebooting trick.

First, press Ctr + Shift + Esc to open the Windows Task Manager.

Windows 8 Task Manager

Mouse down to More details and click the little down arrow.

Windows 8 Task Manager More Details

Now scroll down until you see Windows Explorer in the process list.  Or even easier, just start typing Windows Explorer and as you type the Task Manager will automatically zero in on the right process.

I should probably mention that most people confuse Windows Explorer with Internet Explorer.   The two are completely disparate things.  The difference is that Internet Explorer is just the default Microsoft web browser that’s often beleaguered by performance problems (I wrote a few tips on how to speed up IE) but Windows Explorer is the core process responsible for letting you copy, cut, move, view, rename and basically manage all your files and folders.  Without Windows Explorer Windows would be seriously debilitated; however, most of us can live without Internet Explorer right?

Okay, now that I’ve cleared that up let’s look back at the Task Manager since we’ve clicked More details.

Did you notice something interesting here?

It’s subtle.

The End Task button in the bottom corner of the Task Manager is now a Restart button.  If you click any of the other processes the button shows up as End Task; only Windows Explorer gets this special treatment.  It’s one of the many new Windows 8 and 8.1 features.

To restart the computer without restarting, click Restart and Windows dutifully respawns the Windows Explorer process.  This is essentially the same thing as restarting the computer or logging out and logging back in.

And there you have it: problem averted and one less reboot to worry about.  Cheers!

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Posted in How To, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 Tagged with: