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Configuring Startup and Troubleshooting Startup Issues : Understanding the Startup Process (part 2) - Windows Boot Manager Phase

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6/12/2013 11:34:42 AM

3. Windows Boot Manager Phase

The Windows Boot Manager is capable of natively reading supported file systems, and uses that capability to parse the BCD registry file without fully loading the file system.

For computers that have a single operating system, Windows Boot Manager never displays a user interface. It does, however, wait for a few moments to allow the user to press a key to display the standard boot menu, as shown in Figure 2, or to press F8 to choose Advanced Boot Options, as shown in Figure 3. If the user does not press a key within a few seconds of POST completing, Windows Boot Manager starts the Windows Boot Loader, which in turn starts Windows Vista.

Figure 2. Windows Boot Manager enables you to choose from multiple operating systems or launch Windows Memory Diagnostics.

Figure 3. During startup, you can interrupt the default behavior of Windows Boot Manager to view the Advanced Boot Options.

For computers with multiple operating systems installed (such as both Windows Vista and Windows XP), Windows Boot Manager displays a menu of operating system choices at startup. Depending on what you choose, Windows Boot Manager will start a different process:

  • If you choose Windows Vista, Windows Boot Manager starts the Windows Boot Loader to launch Windows Vista.

  • If you choose Earlier Version Of Windows or another entry for Windows Server 2003, Windows XP Professional, Windows 2000, or Windows NT 4.0, Windows Boot Manager starts NTLDR, which then proceeds with the hardware-detection phase.

  • If you select another operating system, control is passed to the boot sector for the other operating system.

  • If you choose Windows Memory Diagnostic by pressing the Tab key, Windows Boot Manager launches the diagnostic tool without first starting Windows.

4. Windows Boot Loader Phase

The Windows Boot Manager starts the Windows Boot Loader phase when the user chooses to load Windows Vista. The Windows Boot Loader does the following:

1.
Loads the operating system kernel, Ntoskrnl.exe, but does not yet run it.

2.
Loads the hardware abstraction layer (HAL), Hal.dll. This will not be used until the kernel is run.

3.
Loads the system registry hive (System32\Config\System) into memory.

4.
Scans the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Services key for device drivers and loads all drivers that are configured for the boot class into memory. The Windows Boot Loader does not, however, initiate the drivers. Drivers are not initiated until the kernel loading phase.

5.
Enables paging.

6.
Passes control to the operating system kernel, which starts the next phase.
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