bootstrap loader


Also found in: Dictionary, Medical, Acronyms.

bootstrap loader

[′büt‚strap ′lōd·ər]
(computer science)
A very short program loading routine, used for loading other loaders in a computer; often implemented in a read-only memory.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

bootstrap loader

(operating system)
A short program loaded from non-volatile storage and used to bootstrap a computer.

On early computers great efforts were expended on making the bootstrap loader short, in order to make it easy to toggle in via the front panel switches. It was just clever enough to read in a slightly more complex program (usually from punched cards or paper tape), to which it handed control. This program in turn read the application or operating system from a magnetic tape drive or disk drive. Thus, in successive steps, the computer "pulled itself up by its bootstraps" to a useful operating state.

Nowadays the bootstrap loader is usually found in ROM or EPROM, and reads the first stage in from a fixed location on the disk, called the "boot block". When this program gains control, it is powerful enough to load the actual OS and hand control over to it. A diskless workstation can use bootp to load its OS from the network.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (foldoc.org)

boot loader

A small program that calls the operating system into memory (RAM) after the power is turned on. The boot loader may reside in the boot sector of the hard drive (or SSD) or in a chip. In more secure systems, the boot loader may load a second-level boot program, which then loads the operating system. Sometimes, the boot loader and boot manager, which enables one of several operating systems to be selected, are combined in the same program. See boot, boot manager, boot sector and secure boot.
Copyright © 1981-2019 by The Computer Language Company Inc. All Rights reserved. THIS DEFINITION IS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. All other reproduction is strictly prohibited without permission from the publisher.