Quote: Originally Posted by Bare Foot Kid
Using the power button on the PC has the potential of disabling Windows permanently.
BFK. That is a little misleading. On most desktops, unless change by the user, hitting the power button shuts down Windows and then turns off the computer. On notebooks, to my knowledge it can be either what I say above or to put the system into hibernate or sleep mode (Suspend?).
Holding down the power button can turn the system off after a period of time. What that period of time is depends on the system and could create a problem if the time it take for the MB and PSU to see you are holding down the power button is fairly short.
But in any event that is not what the OP asked. He specifically asked "What is the difference between shutting the system down and then turning it back on by hitting the power button and selecting Restart".
To that question the answer is basically nothing. It is only to save you some time
The only difference on my newest build is doing a restart seems to take less time then starting the system with the power button right after it has been shut down or from starting cold. I think because the system knows it is restarting and doesn't do all the POST checks. Or as long of the POST checks when starting when completely off.