When the computer is switched on, a copy of boot program is brought from ROM into the main memory. This process is called booting. The CPU first runs a jump instruction that transfers to BIOS (Basic Input output System) and it starts executing. The BIOS conducts a series of self diagnostic tests called POST (Power On Self Test). These tests include memory tests, configuring and starting video circuitry, configuring the system’s hardware and checking other devices that help to function the computer properly. Thereafter the BIOS locates a bootable drive to load the boot sector. The execution is then transferred to the Boot Strap Loader program on the boot sector which loads and executes the operating system. If the boot sector is on the hard drive then it will have a Master Boot record (MBR) which checks the partition table for active partition. If found, the MBR loads that partition’s boot sector and executes it.
Booting Process is of two types:
1. Cold Booting: When the system starts from initial state i.e. it is switched on, we call it cold booting or Hard Booting. When the user presses the Power button, the instructions are read from the ROM to initiate the booting process.
2. Warm Booting: When the system restarts or when Reset button is pressed, we call it Warm Booting or Soft Booting. The system does not start from initial state and so all diagnostic tests need not be carried out in this case. There are chances of data loss and system damage as the data might not have been stored properly.