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Reset button

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Title: Reset button  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Reboot (computing), Berg connector, Video game consoles, Form (HTML), ABC 80
Collection: Computing Input Devices, Video Game Consoles
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Reset button

In electronics and technology, a reset button is a button that can reset a device. On video game consoles, the reset button restarts the game, losing the player's unsaved progress. On personal computers,[NB 1] the reset button clears the memory and reboots the machine forcibly. Reset buttons are found on circuit breakers to reset the circuit. This button can cause data corruption so this button often doesn't exist on many machines. Usually, in computers and other electronic devices, it is present as a small button, possibly recessed into the case or only accessible by a pin or similar thin object, to prevent it being pressed accidentally .

Personal computers

The icon denoting the power or reset function on most devices

The reset button could be an actual button or concept. The reset button would typically kick off a soft boot, instructing the computer to go through the process of shutting down, which would clear memory and reset devices to their initialized state. Contrary to the 'Power Button', which would simply remove power immediately.

Pressing the reset button would be preferable to the power button, which could potentially leave a device in the middle of some operation and subject to defect. In most commodity hardware, the consumer would expect the device to be resilient enough to 'reset' when power was restored.

Depending on the architecture, the reset button might have different effects. On PCs, usually it is connected to the motherboard, and when pressed it sends a reset signal to all peripherals. Many newer computers have no separate button for resetting the computer; it is integrated with the power button. On most newer operating systems, the user can customize what happens when they press the power button. For example they may set it to 'Do nothing', 'restart', 'shutdown', or 'stand by'. This is only for pressing the button once; on most computers the power button can remove power immediately if held down for a few seconds. When the OS hangs the reset button is no longer "integrated with the power button".

Game consoles

On game consoles, many times it is simply a software signal. For example, on the Nintendo 64 and the GameCube, it instructs the currently running software (game or console BIOS) to restart forcibly, usually fading out the volume and/or screen brightness for a cleaner effect. On the PlayStation 2, the button is by default programmed to restart the whole system, but, especially on games using the Network Adapter/HDD, it might clean up the connection, unmount hard drive partitions, and remove power from the hard drive before restarting the machine. In the latter case, many times it switches off the system instead of restarting it (the reset button is actually also the on/off button, but under normal circumstances, the button needs to be held for 2–4 seconds to turn the system off).

On certain games (especially those that use autosave), one can gain an advantage by using the reset button. If a mistake is made, such as getting a character killed, the reset button can be pressed instead of saving, and start from a point before the mistake occurred. Purists consider this poor sport, a sentiment that manifests itself as an easter egg in the Animal Crossing series. In this series, a character named Mr. Resetti appears if the player terminates the playing session other than by the saved and quit procedure defined by the game. Despite the fact that the player may face difficulties in the game (or any other game, for that matter), Resetti says that one should just move on and forget the mistakes. Not saving the game numerous times causes his already-short fuse to light, angering Mr. Resetti. At one point, he even threatened to reset the game himself as a practical joke.


  1. ^ On IBM mainframes reset neither clears memory nor initiates an IPL.
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