How to do an emergency restart on Windows 11

Emergency! Windows 11 is perhaps the most stable OS that Microsoft has created, but it can run into situations where you may be forced to restart your computer to gain back control.

This usually happens when you are unable to reboot your PC for some reason, or Windows fails to shut down normally. And on rare occasions, Windows might freeze up, and it can get difficult to get the system to respond to mouse clicks and key presses. In this case, an emergency restart may be necessary.

Time to find out what it is and how you can pull it off.

What is an emergency restart?

Emergency restart is a hidden power option in Windows that you can use when you want to immediately reboot your system. During an emergency restart, the operating system will terminate any running application and display no warning message to save your work.

That is to say, any unsaved data will be lost when you do this.

So, why is there a need for an emergency restart?

When their system becomes unresponsive, many people handle this situation by doing a physical restart. This may involve unplugging the power cord on a desktop PC or removing a laptop battery to force the computer to shut down immediately. Both possibilities can cause damage to your device.

Forcing an emergency restart is a much better way to bring your system offline, without worrying about causing any hardware or software issue by doing it physically.

Perform an emergency restart

Useful as this option is, not many folks know about it. That’s because this option is tucked away in Windows, and is rarely highlighted. The process itself is simple enough, which is good, because we are in an emergency, after all.

This is what you need to do:

  1. Press the Ctrl + Alt + Delete key combination on your keyboard.
    Emergency Restart Tutorial
  2. The Security Option screen will appear.
  3. Press and hold the Ctrl key, and then click the Power icon located in the lower right-hand corner of the screen.
    Emergency Restart Tutorial
  4. You will be asked for a confirmation about the emergency restart, with a warning that all your unsaved data will be lost as a result.
  5. Click OK.

Windows will immediately shut down and boot back up, no questions asked.


The next time you are confronted with a frozen PC that is running Windows 11, give the emergency restart procedure a try. Hopefully, you won’t have to use this feature very often. But do know that it is an option that is there as a last resort.