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Warm boot

Warm boot

(also soft reboot)

Warm boot definition

A warm boot, often called a soft reboot, occurs when the operating system restarts while the hardware remains powered on. This process typically discards all system data in RAM but does not power down the computer’s hardware. It often provides a faster way to reboot the system and rectify specific software-related issues.

See also: cold boot, hard reboot, BIOS rootkit

Warm boot examples

  • Software installation: Certain software applications may require a warm boot after installation or updates to implement changes properly.
  • System troubleshooting: A warm boot is a common solution for resolving minor system glitches or software performance issues.

Warm boot compared to cold boot

A cold boot, in contrast to a warm boot, involves restarting the computer system from a completely powered-down state. Both processes have their respective pros and cons.

Advantages and disadvantages of warm boot


  • Speed: A warm boot is usually quicker than a cold boot as it bypasses several start-up processes.
  • Convenience: A warm boot doesn’t require the physical interaction needed in a cold boot.


  • Limited effect: A warm boot may not resolve issues that a cold boot can, especially hardware-related problems or errors embedded deeply within the system.
  • Non-persistent data loss: A warm boot may result in the loss of non-persistent data not saved to the computer’s hard drive prior to the reboot. This includes unsaved documents, open web pages, and any unsaved changes in software applications.

Using a warm boot

  • Apply a warm boot when your computer is slow, unresponsive, or exhibiting minor software-related glitches.
  • For more serious hardware issues, a cold boot may be more effective.

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