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Booting and Dual Booting of Operating System

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After an operating system is generated, it must be available for the use by the hardware. But how the hardware know where the kernel is, or how to load that kernel? The procedure of starting a computer by loading the kernel is known as Booting the system. Hence it needs a special program, stored in ROM to do this job known as the Bootstrap loader. Example: BIOS (boot input output system). A modern PC BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) supports booting from various devices. Typically, the BIOS will allow the user to configure a boot order. If the boot order is set to:

  • CD Drive
  • Hard Disk Drive
  • Network

Then the BIOS will try to boot from the CD drive first, and if that fails then it will try to boot from the hard disk drive, and if that fails then it will try to boot from the network, and if that fails then it won’t boot at all. Booting is a startup sequence that starts the operating system of a computer when it is turned on. A boot sequence is the initial set of operations that the computer performs when it is switched on. Every computer has a boot sequence. Bootstrap loader locates the kernel, loads it into main memory and starts its execution. In some systems, a simple bootstrap loader fetches a more complex boot program from disk, which in turn loads the kernel. 
Dual Booting: When two operating system are installed on the computer system then it is called dual booting. In fact multiple operating systems can be installed on such a system. But how system knows which operating system is to boot? A boot loader that understand multiple file systems and multiple operating system can occupy the boot space. Once loaded, it can boot one of the operating systems available on the disk. The disk can have multiple partitions, each containing a different type of operating system. When a computer system turn on, a boot manager program displays a menu, allowing user to choose the operating system to use.

 Comparison between booting and dual booting

 Booting Dual Booting
Definition The process of starting up a computer The process of installing and running multiple operating systems on a single computer
Purpose Loads the operating system into memory and initializes the computer Allows users to choose between different operating systems at startup
Single OS Only one operating system is installed and runs on the computer Multiple operating systems are installed on different partitions or drives
Configuration The computer is configured to boot directly into the installed operating system The computer is configured with a boot loader to choose between different operating systems
Setup Complexity Relatively simpler, as there is only one operating system to configure Requires additional setup and configuration to manage multiple operating systems
Resource Utilization Utilizes the full resources of the computer for a single operating system Resources are divided among the installed operating systems, potentially affecting performance
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Last Updated : 10 May, 2023
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