Power cycling is the act of turning a piece of equipment, usually a computer, off and then on again. Reasons for power cycling include having an electronic device reinitialize its configuration or recover from an unresponsive state of its mission critical functionality, such as in a crash or hang situation. Power cycling can also be used to reset network activity inside a modem.
Power cycling can be done manually, usually using a switch on the device to be cycled; automatically, through some type of device, system, or network management monitoring and control; or by remote control; through a communication channel.
In the data center environment, remote control power cycling can usually be done through a power distribution unit, over TCP/IP. In the home environment, this can be done through home automation powerline communications, via IP protocols (wired or wireless), or by phone line.
Power cycling may damage hardware such as hard drives and is only performed as a last resort, when other attempts to get control of the system fail. Reset has an equal effect on the software but may be less problematic for the hardware as power is not interrupted, so it is usually tried first.
See also 
- This article is based on material taken from the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing prior to 1 November 2008 and incorporated under the "relicensing" terms of the GFDL, version 1.3 or later.
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