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The reset button is a simple normally-open switch that is connected to two pins on the motherboard. When the button is pressed, the switch is closed. When it is released, the system performs a hardware reset. Most newer cases have the reset switch recessed to prevent it from being pressed by accident (or by small, curious fingers.) Some put the reset switch on the back of the system, which is even safer, but can be very inconvenient.
Strangely, there are some cases on the market that do not have a reset switch at all. I am not sure what the reason is for this, but I would find it very annoying not to have a reset button. This sort of design would also increase the chances of accidental system corruption: since the only alternative to the reset button when a PC is hung up is to turn the PC off and then on again, which can (occasionally) cause system problems.
Next: Turbo Button