What Does Reseat Mean?

Explanation of What It Means to Reseat Something in a Computer

Picture of a green electric power plug and cable
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To reseat something just means to unplug or remove it and then to plug it back in or reinstall it. Reseating a computer component will often fix problems caused by loose connections.

It's a common troubleshooting step to reseat peripheral cards, power and interface cables, memory modules, and other devices that plug into a computer.

Note: Although they look similar, the words "reseat" and "reset" are not related. Reseating pertains to a piece of hardware, while resetting is to revert something back to a previous state, like when you're dealing with faulty software or a forgotten password.

How to Know When Something Needs Reseated

The most obvious sign that you need to reseat something is if a problem shows up just after you move your computer, knock it over, or do some other physical thing with it.

For example, if you've moved your computer from one room to another, and then the  monitor doesn't show anything, one of the first things you should consider is that something related to the video card, video cable, or monitor has been disconnected during the move.

The same concept applies to other parts of your computer, too. If your bump into your laptop and the flash drive stops working, it's best to start the troubleshooting process at the flash drive itself. In this case, you'd want to unplug the flash drive and then plug it back in to see if that fixes the problem.

Really, the same applies to any piece of technology you have. If you move your HDTV from one shelf to another and it something doesn't work, reseat all the cables that are connected to it.

Another time when you might need to reseat something is right after having installed it! This might seem unlikely and unnecessary, but if you think about it, there's a really good chance that if you just installed something but it's not working moments later, the problem lies in the installation process itself (i.e. the hardware is probably not to blame, especially if it's new).

Say you're installing a new hard drive and then your computer doesn't recognize it 15 minutes later when you turn on the computer. Before promptly returning the hard drive, consider that it's much more likely that it's not plugged in all the way than that a brand new HDD simply doesn't work.

Something else to keep in mind when installing or replacing hardware, especially on the inside of the device, is that it can be easy to accidentally run into other components, even ones that you aren't directly working with. So, even though it's just the hard drive you're trying to install, for instance, you might need to reseat the RAM or video card if you dislodged it by mistake.

How to Reseat Something

Reseating is one of the most simple things you can do. All that's involved with reseating is detaching something and then reattaching it. It doesn't matter what the "thing" is - reseating works the exact same way.

Looking back at the examples above, you'd want to check the cables attached to the monitor because that's most likely what would move around when relocating your computer. If unplugging and plugging back in your monitor cables don't fix the problem, it's possible the video card itself has been detached from the motherboard, in which case it would need to be reseated.

This same troubleshooting method applies to any scenario like this, like with the hard drive example. Generally, just unplugging the piece of hardware and then plugging it back in will do the trick.

Here are several tutorials that will help with reseating tasks:

Of course, reseating is usually just one of many different things you should try as part of the process of figuring out what's wrong with your piece of technology.

Since reseating is something you do with hardware, in the "real" world, the next step is often replacing the piece of hardware to see if that helps.

What NOT to Reseat

Every single thing in your computer doesn't need to be reseated when there's a problem. Try your best to logically think about what might have come loose during a move or what gravity may have had a long time to work on and give you trouble with.

In particular, don't be in a rush to reseat the CPU. This important part of your computer is one of the more secured components and is highly unlikely to "wiggle loose" by any means. Unless you really think the CPU needs attention, leave it alone.