Reset Button Definition

A reset button is a button on the outside of a computer that a user can push to reboot (i.e., restart) the computer without turning the power off and back on again.

This capability is useful in the event of a system crash, that is, the situation in which a computer stops responding to keyboard and mouse commands. Although a similar result could be achieved by turning the power off and then turning it back on again, use of the reset button can be more convenient and it also might be less stressful for the computer's circuit boards.

With an orderly shutdown of a computer, the contents of memory are saved to the hard disk drive (HDD). When the reset button is pushed, in contrast, all data in memory is lost, as is the case with a sudden loss of power. Consequently, it is desirable to try to deal with crashes by other means if at all possible when there is important data that has not yet been saved.

The term reset button is also used to refer to a software button in a GUI (graphical user interface) that a user can click on to reset values in a form to clear all of the fields or reset them to their default values. In the case of case of forms created on a web page using HTML (hypertext markup language), a reset button can be created with the tag <INPUT TYPE="reset">. This button will reset all the fields that are in the same form as the reset button.

Created April 1, 2006.
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