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Boot sequence

Boot sequence

(also boot order, BIOS boot order)

Boot sequence definition

It’s a routine a computer follows upon startup. It first checks vital components like memory. Then, a machine searches for its main storage, like a hard disk or a solid-state drive. After that, a computer finds the essential system software and loads it. Performing this sequence ensures the computer is ready for use.

See also: master boot record, warm boot, bootloader, secure boot

Use cases of a boot sequence

  1. System updates. A device must restart after installing a critical software update or system patch. The boot sequence ensures the new updates integrate properly with the existing system during startup.
  2. Hardware diagnostics. If a technician suspects a hardware issue with a computer, they might reboot the device. During the boot sequence, any failures in essential components can be detected, aiding in diagnostics.
  3. New hardware integration. A computer typically needs a restart when installing a new piece of hardware, such as a graphics card or memory module. The boot sequence helps in initializing and integrating the new hardware with the system.
  4. System recovery. In cases where a system might have crashed or become unresponsive, a forced restart initiates the boot sequence. This process helps load a stable operating system version and potentially fix any temporary glitches.
  5. Dual booting. The boot sequence plays a pivotal role for computers configured to run multiple operating systems. Upon startup, users can choose which OS to load, and the boot sequence ensures the selected system starts up correctly.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security