What Happens When You Start Your Computer

Posted: May 22, 2010 in Bios, System Basics, System Information
Tags: ,

As stated earlier in this chapter, the Windows XP/Windows Server 2003 boot sequence closely resembles that of Windows NT/2000. Listed below are the processes that take place when Windows NT-based operating system successfully starts on an x86-based computer:

  • Power On Self Test (POST)
  • Initial startup process
  • Boot loader process
  • Operating-system selection (if you have a multi-boot system)
  • Hardware detection
  • Hardware-profile selection
  • Kernel-loading process
  • Kernel-initialization process
  • User-logon process
Note The startup sequence quoted above applies to systems started or restarted after a normal shutdown. The startup processes begin when you do one of the following:

  • Turn on the computer
  • Reboot the system

However, this startup sequence does not apply when resuming from hibernate or standby modes.

When you log on, the process of loading Windows NT/2000, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003 is completed, as well as are most of the initialization procedures. However, the startup can only really be considered as successfully completed after you log on to the system.

The following requirements need to be met to successfully begin the Windows NT/2000/XP/Windows Server 2003 startup:

  • Correct initialization of all the hardware.
  • Presence of all required files for starting the OS. If any of these files aren’t present in the correct folder or are corrupt, the startup will fail.
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