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What is involved in Windows Boot Process:
The Windows boot process involves several stages, in which the operating system performs various tasks to prepare the system for use.
- The BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) runs a power-on self-test (POST) to check the system’s hardware components and to load the bootstrap program.
- The bootstrap program, also known as the boot loader, is responsible for loading the operating system kernel and transferring control to it. In Windows, the boot loader is called the bootmgr.
- The operating system kernel, which is the core of the operating system, initializes the system and starts the system services.
- The system services, such as the device drivers, are loaded and initialized.
- The operating system loads the user profile and starts the user interface, such as the desktop or the login screen.
- The user can log in and start using the system.
This is a general overview of the Windows boot process. The exact sequence of events may vary depending on the specific version of Windows and the hardware configuration of the system.
- Power is turned on.
- The first process starting when you turn on your computer is BIOS i.e, Basic Input Output System. BIOS has two functions, to conduct POST and read MBR.
- POST – POST stands for Power On Self Test. POST checks all the hardware devices connected to a computer like RAM, hard disk etc and make sure that the system can run smoothly with those hardware devices. If the POST is a failure the system halts with a beep sound.
- Now BIOS checks the boot priority. We can set the boot priority as CD drive, hard disk or floppy drive
- MBR – The next duty of BIOS is to read the MBR. MBR stands for Master Boot Record and its the first sector on a hard disk. MBR
contains the partition table and boot loader.
- Functions of Boot loader
Now BIOS has passed the control to boot loader and boot loader is a small program which loads kernel to computers memory. Actually there are two stages of boot loaders, stage 1 boot loader and stage 2 boot loader. MBR contains the stage 1 boot loader and stage 1 boot loader is a link to the stage 2 boot loader. The stage 2 boot loader resides in the boot partition and it loads the kernel to memory.
- Boot files and functions
There are three boot files in a Windows operating system and they are NTLDR, NTDETECT.COM and Boot.ini. The boot files are found in the active partition of hard disk and its normally C drive in a Windows machine.
- NTLDR – NTLDR stands for NT Loader and its the second stage bootloader. The path of NTLDR is C:\Windows\i386\NTLDR.
- Boot.ini – Boot.ini contains the configuration files of NTLDR. When the operating system is loaded we cannot pass any arguments to kernel, so those arguments are passed through boot.ini. You can edit boot.ini by opening through notepad. The path of Boot.ini is C:\boot.ini.
- NTDETECT.COM – This file detect hardware’s and passes information to NTLDR. Using the collected information the NTLDR creates a hardware key and this key is used to detect hardware’s. A new hardware key is generated after each reboot of the operating system and that’s why system asks to reboot after installation of a new hardware. The hardware keys created by NTLDR can be found in Windows registry at
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> HARDWARES.
- Kernel and its functions
After executing the functions of boot files the control is passed to Kernel. ntoskrnal.exe is the kernel file in a Windows machine and its path is C:\Windows\system 32\ntoskrnal.exe. Kernel acts as a layer between software and hardware. The library file hal.dll (C;\Windows\system32\hal.dll) helps Kernel to interact with hardware’s. HAL stands for Hardware Abstraction Layer and this hal.dll file is
machine specific. Now the drivers for hardware’s are loaded from the file C:\Windows\system32\config\system and the Kernel is loaded to primary memory.
- Services and log in procedure
When kernel is loaded in the primary memory services for each process is started and the registry entry for those services can be found at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE – System – Current control set – Services.
Winlogon.exe (C:\Windows\system32\winlogon.exe) is the last service started during this process.
Winlogon.exe starts the log in procedures of windows machine. It first calls the library file msgina.dll (C:\Windows\system32\msgina.dll). MSGINA stands for Microsoft Graphics Identification and Authentication and it provides the log in window. Now msginal.dll passes the control to LSA (Local Security Authority), it verifies the username and password from the SAM file. SAM (Security Accounts Manager) contains the information about all users created in a Windows operating system.
Now the booting procedure is over and we have reached the desktop of Windows operating system.
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List of Freely available programming books - What is the single most influential book every Programmers should read
- Bjarne Stroustrup - The C++ Programming Language
- Brian W. Kernighan, Rob Pike - The Practice of Programming
- Donald Knuth - The Art of Computer Programming
- Ellen Ullman - Close to the Machine
- Ellis Horowitz - Fundamentals of Computer Algorithms
- Eric Raymond - The Art of Unix Programming
- Gerald M. Weinberg - The Psychology of Computer Programming
- James Gosling - The Java Programming Language
- Joel Spolsky - The Best Software Writing I
- Keith Curtis - After the Software Wars
- Richard M. Stallman - Free Software, Free Society
- Richard P. Gabriel - Patterns of Software
- Richard P. Gabriel - Innovation Happens Elsewhere
- Code Complete (2nd edition) by Steve McConnell
- The Pragmatic Programmer
- Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
- The C Programming Language by Kernighan and Ritchie
- Introduction to Algorithms by Cormen, Leiserson, Rivest & Stein
- Design Patterns by the Gang of Four
- Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code
- The Mythical Man Month
- The Art of Computer Programming by Donald Knuth
- Compilers: Principles, Techniques and Tools by Alfred V. Aho, Ravi Sethi and Jeffrey D. Ullman
- Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter
- Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship by Robert C. Martin
- Effective C++
- More Effective C++
- CODE by Charles Petzold
- Programming Pearls by Jon Bentley
- Working Effectively with Legacy Code by Michael C. Feathers
- Peopleware by Demarco and Lister
- Coders at Work by Peter Seibel
- Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!
- Effective Java 2nd edition
- Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture by Martin Fowler
- The Little Schemer
- The Seasoned Schemer
- Why's (Poignant) Guide to Ruby
- The Inmates Are Running The Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
- The Art of Unix Programming
- Test-Driven Development: By Example by Kent Beck
- Practices of an Agile Developer
- Don't Make Me Think
- Agile Software Development, Principles, Patterns, and Practices by Robert C. Martin
- Domain Driven Designs by Eric Evans
- The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman
- Modern C++ Design by Andrei Alexandrescu
- Best Software Writing I by Joel Spolsky
- The Practice of Programming by Kernighan and Pike
- Pragmatic Thinking and Learning: Refactor Your Wetware by Andy Hunt
- Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art by Steve McConnel
- The Passionate Programmer (My Job Went To India) by Chad Fowler
- Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution
- Algorithms + Data Structures = Programs
- Writing Solid Code
- Getting Real by 37 Signals
- Foundations of Programming by Karl Seguin
- Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice in C (2nd Edition)
- Thinking in Java by Bruce Eckel
- The Elements of Computing Systems
- Refactoring to Patterns by Joshua Kerievsky
- Modern Operating Systems by Andrew S. Tanenbaum
- The Annotated Turing
- Things That Make Us Smart by Donald Norman
- The Timeless Way of Building by Christopher Alexander
- The Deadline: A Novel About Project Management by Tom DeMarco
- The C++ Programming Language (3rd edition) by Stroustrup
- Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture
- Computer Systems - A Programmer's Perspective
- Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices in C# by Robert C. Martin
- Growing Object-Oriented Software, Guided by Tests
- Framework Design Guidelines by Brad Abrams
- Object Thinking by Dr. David West
- Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment by W. Richard Stevens
- Hackers and Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age
- The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder
- CLR via C# by Jeffrey Richter
- The Timeless Way of Building by Christopher Alexander
- Design Patterns in C# by Steve Metsker
- Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carol
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
- About Face - The Essentials of Interaction Design
- Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations by Clay Shirky
- The Tao of Programming
- Computational Beauty of Nature
- Writing Solid Code by Steve Maguire
- Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing
- Object-Oriented Analysis and Design with Applications by Grady Booch
- Effective Java by Joshua Bloch
- Computability by N. J. Cutland
- Masterminds of Programming
- The Tao Te Ching
- The Productive Programmer
- The Art of Deception by Kevin Mitnick
- The Career Programmer: Guerilla Tactics for an Imperfect World by Christopher Duncan
- Paradigms of Artificial Intelligence Programming: Case studies in Common Lisp
- Masters of Doom
- Pragmatic Unit Testing in C# with NUnit by Andy Hunt and Dave Thomas with Matt Hargett
- How To Solve It by George Polya
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
- Smalltalk-80: The Language and its Implementation
- Writing Secure Code (2nd Edition) by Michael Howard
- Introduction to Functional Programming by Philip Wadler and Richard Bird
- No Bugs! by David Thielen
- Rework by Jason Freid and DHH
- JUnit in Action
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