Introduction

When a Windows server runs for an extended period of time, applications and operating system features can become unstable.

An unstable operating system might have application crashes, hanging applications, or memory leaks. Sometimes even essential system functions become unresponsive.

A straightforward solution is to restart. This guide will walk you through how to restart Windows Server 2016 with multiple command options.

Prerequisites

  • A system running Windows Server 2016
  • Command-line access
  • (optional) a remote server connection
  • (optional) Graphical User Interface installed
  • (optional) Windows PowerShell

Using the Windows Server Restart Command

Restart Windows Server with the GUI

The Windows Server 2016 interface is called a GUI, or Graphical User Interface, which simplifies many tasks.

Click the Start menu > Power button > Restart.

How to Restart Windows Server using Command Prompt

In some cases, you may not have the GUI component installed. Or, your operating system encountered a problem, and all you can access is a command prompt.

Step 1: Open the command prompt

Press ctrl-alt-del

The system should present a menu – click Task Manager

In the Task Manager window, click More Details

Click the File menu, then click Run new task

In the field, type cmd.exe– then check the box to create the task with administrator privileges. Click OK.

A black window with white text should appear.

Step 2: Reboot the Windows Server Operating System

In the Command Prompt window, type the Windows Server restart command, then press Enter:

shutdown –r

The option –r tells Windows to restart, instead of simply shutting down.

Restarting from PowerShell

Windows PowerShell is like a souped-up version of the command prompt. It’s based on the .NET framework, and includes a scripting language. PowerShell is useful for tinkering under the hood of your operating system.

Step 1: Launch PowerShell

Press ctrl-shift-esc to launch the Task Manager.

Click the File menu, then Run new task.

In the prompt, type powershell.exe and tick the box to start with administrator privileges. Click OK.

A new window with a dark blue background should launch. You can tell you’re in a PowerShell window if the prompt begins with PS.

Step 2: Restart the system

In the PowerShell window, type the following command and press Enter:

Restart-Computer

By default, you’ll get a 5-second countdown, then the system will restart.

You can add an option to delay the restart for longer than the default 5 seconds:

Restart-Computer –delay 15

Change the number 15 to the number of seconds you wish to delay.

Rebooting a remote Windows server with PowerShell

Step 1: Launch PowerShell

If you are in a command prompt enter the command:

PowerShell

The prompt will add PS at the beginning, and your typed commands should appear in yellow.

Step 2: Restart remotely

In the PowerShell window, type the following:

Restart-Computer –ComputerName “NAME_OF_SYSTEM”

Replace NAME_OF_SYSTEM with the name of the computer you want to restart. Make sure to include the quotation marks.

Note: This assumes that your current credentials are the same as those for the remote system. Typically this might look like a username of an administrator, and the same password for both systems. It can also work if both systems are on the same domain, and your user account has the appropriate permissions.

Conclusion

Restarting a Windows server is very simple.

However, if you run into a snag – the GUI isn’t working, or you can only launch the Task Manager – this guide on How to Restart Windows Server 2016 can help.