What is the difference between Shutdown, Restart and Hibernation ?


I have had a customer having a problem with Start and Search not working on a Windows 10 desktop.   I asked if they had done a Restart and they said “no, they Start the PC up, use it and then Shutdown each day still putting up with the issue”.  This being over a number of days.

Try Restart to Fix Problems

Shutdown shuts down all processes and turns your computer off completely.  This clears all transient cache in processors and memory.
Starting up uses what is available on the system disc to load memory.
Restart, on the other hand, temporarily shuts down your PC then fires it up again.  This usually happens during or after “Windows Updates” are installed.   During the reboot, the system is restarted (re-booted) to ensure that any update is installed changing registry and harddisc settings, it has been installed correctly and is working as it should.
Thus a restart gives the system an opportunity to repair itself and correct errors!
Hibernation when selected either manually or timeout on laptops saves all data and program states currently in memory to a special file and then turns the PC off.   When you switch your PC on, it comes out of hibernation, the hibernation files are used to restore you PC’s condition to that before you initially hibernated.   In other word any programs you had open previously to hibernating will again be ready for you to use with the same data, e.g. if Word was open and you were editing a document, then this will continue after the hibernation.

Hibernation or sleep is for best for short term use to same battery power if not using your laptop for half an hour or so.  If the system has an error before hibernation, then it will be there after hibernation!

For mains PCs, less than half an hour, just lock your screen or if you will be away longer than half an hour, we suggest that you shutdown laptops completely.

Sometimes PCs are hard/impossible to wake from Hibernation/Sleep, by using the keyboard to wake the computer,  this may be because the Power Management tab for the “Keyboard Device” in Device Manager must have the box next to “Allow this device to wake the computer” checked.