When the kernel is updated, unless you’re using Ksplice or KernelCare  you need to reboot your Linux system. A system reboot may also be  required in other circumstances, eg, when troubleshooting hardware  issues, installing applications, and so on. If you’re running a headless  Linux server, you need to know how to restart the system from the  command line.

On most modern Linux distributions, the systemctl utility replaces the most of power management commands used in the older Linux distributions with sysvinit. The reboot and shutdown commands are aliases to systemctl and are available in the system for compatibility reasons.

In this tutorial, we’ll explain how to use the systemctl and shutdown commands to reboot your Linux machine. The commands must be run as root or user with sudo privileges.

Using systemctl

To reboot your Linux system simply type reboot or systemctl reboot:

sudo systemctl reboot

The system will be restarted immediately.

When  the reboot is initiated, all logged-in users and processes are notified  that the system is going down, and no further logins are allowed. Linux  will close all open files, stop the running processes, and restart the  system.

To prevent the reboot command from sending a message, run the command with the --no-wall option:

sudo systemctl --no-wall reboot

If you want to set a custom message explaining the reason for the reboot, use the --message= option:

sudo systemctl --message="Hardware upgrade" reboot

The message will be shown in the logs:

System is rebooting (Hardware upgrade)

Using shutdown

When used with the -r option, the shutdown command performs a system reboot:

sudo shutdown -r 

By  default, the system will be rebooted after 1 minute, but you can  specify the exact time when you want the system to be rebooted.

The time argument can have two different formats. It can be an absolute time in the format hh:mm and relative time in the format +m where m is the number of minutes from now.

The following example will schedule system reboot at 10 A.M:

sudo shutdown -r 10:00

The following example will schedule system reboot in 5 minutes from now:

sudo shutdown -r +5

To shut down your system immediately use +0 or its alias now:

sudo shutdown -r now

To broadcast a custom message along with the standard shutdown notification, type your message after the time argument.

The  following command, will shut down the system in 10 minutes from now and  notify the users that a hardware upgrade will be performed:

sudo shutdown -r +10 "Hardware upgrade"

It is important to mention that when specifying a custom wall message, you must specify a time argument too.

If you have scheduled reboot and you want to cancel it, run shutdown command with the -c option:

sudo shutdown -c

You can also broadcast a message describing why the reboot was canceled:

sudo shutdown -c "Canceling the reboot"


To reboot a Linux system type reboot in your terminal. It will take several seconds for the operating system to restart.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions.