Operating System Design/Initialization

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Initialization[edit]

When a computer is first started, it is in an unknown state. Static electricity and remnants of previous states can lead to values that are not valid states for the machine. In defense, computer programmers have learned to initialize all variables before using them.

After the initial start-up process, the next step depends on the type of computer

Mainframes[edit]

For large mainframe computers, the Initial Program Load, or IPL, is used to load a bootstrap program, typically very tiny, whose purpose is to load the actual boot loader from disk, tape or other media.

Microcomputers[edit]

For typical desktop, server, or rack-mounted blade computers, the power-on-self-test or POST initializes the computer, which then passes execution over to the ROM, where the BIOS system initializes the bottom page or so of RAM, then passes execution to the boot process.

Bootstrap[edit]

One of the first things that the boot process does is load the boot loader, which then loads the operating system.