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The title says it all: What is the difference between executing shutdown -r and reboot?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Nothing, both of them do the same task.

From the respective man pages:

man reboot:

reboot, halt, poweroff

These programs allow a system administrator to reboot, halt or poweroff the system.

man shutdown -r:

Requests that the system be rebooted after it has  been brought down.

Without the -f option for reboot, it will gracefully terminate all processes, sending signal 15. However, using reboot -f will invoke the reboot(2) system call itself (with REBOOTCOMMAND argument passed) and directly reboots the system.

From a similar question on Unix and linux:

Internally, reboot uses shutdown -r.

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Will they both reboot the system after gracefully stopping running services? I usually user reboot, but I have a concern that it terminates running processes. – Ahmadgeo Apr 1 '14 at 14:38
Answered your comment in the answer, please have a look. – i08in Apr 1 '14 at 14:44
according to this link, reboot calls shutdown by default, which shuts down the computer nicely. With the right flag, you can force reboot to use halt instead. The shut down is the done the violent way. EDIT: Didn't see the answer was updated to address this. I'll keep the comment for the link – Aserre Apr 1 '14 at 14:46

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