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Windows Boot Manager phase
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The Windows Boot Manager is capable of natively reading supported file systems, and it 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 29-3, or to press F8 to choose Advanced Boot Options, as shown in Figure 29-4 . 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 7 .
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Understanding the Startup Process
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FIgURE 29-3 Windows Boot Manager enables you to choose from multiple operating systems or start
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FIgURE 29-4 During startup, you can interrupt the default behavior of Windows Boot Manager to view
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the Advanced Boot Options .
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For computers with multiple operating systems installed (such as both Windows 7 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:
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1430 CHapTER 29 Configuring Startup and Troubleshooting Startup Issues
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If you choose Windows Vista or Windows 7, Windows Boot Manager starts the Windows Boot Loader to open Windows . If you choose Earlier Version Of Windows or another entry for Windows Server 2003, Windows XP Professional, Microsoft Windows 2000, or Microsoft 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 starts the diagnostic tool without first opening Windows .
Windows Boot Loader phase
The Windows Boot Manager starts the Windows Boot Loader phase when the user chooses to load Windows Vista or Windows 7 . The Windows Boot Loader does the following:
1. 2. 3. 4.
Loads the operating system kernel, Ntoskrnl .exe, but does not yet run it . Loads the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL), Hal .dll . This will not be used until the kernel is run . Loads the system registry hive (System32\Config\System) into memory . 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 . Enables paging . Passes control to the operating system kernel, which starts the next phase .
5. 6.
Kernel Loading phase
The Windows Boot Loader is responsible for loading the Windows kernel (Ntoskrnl .exe) and the HAL into memory . Together, the kernel and the HAL initialize a group of software features that are called the Windows executive. The Windows executive processes the configuration information stored in the registry in HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet and starts services and drivers . The following sections provide more detail about the kernel loading phase .
Control Sets
The Windows Boot Loader reads control set information from the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM, which is stored in the file %SystemRoot%\System32 \Config\System, so that the kernel can determine which device drivers need to be loaded during startup . Typically, several control sets exist, with the actual number depending on how often system configuration settings change .
Understanding the Startup Process
CHapTER 29
The HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM subkeys used during startup are:
\CurrentControlSet, a pointer to a ControlSetxxx subkey (where xxx represents a control set number, such as 001) designated in the \Select\Current value . \Select, which contains the following entries:
Default Points to the control set number (for example, 001=ControlSet001) that the system has specified for use at the next startup . If no error or manual invocation of the LastKnownGood startup option occurs, this control set number is designated as the value of the Default, Current, and LastKnownGood entries (assuming that a user is able to log on successfully) . Current Points to the last control set that was used to start the system . Failed Points to a control set that did not start Windows Vista successfully . This value is updated when the LastKnownGood option is used to start the system . lastKnowngood Points to the control set that was used during the last user session . When a user logs on, the LastKnownGood control set is updated with configuration information from the previous user session .
The Windows Boot Loader uses the control set identified by the \Select\Default value unless you choose the Last Known Good Configuration from the Advanced Boot Options menu . The kernel creates the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\HARDWARE, which contains the hardware data collected at system startup . Windows supports an extensive set of devices, with additional drivers not on the Windows operating system DVD provided by hardware manufacturers . Drivers are kernel-mode features required by devices to function within an operating system . Services are features that support operating system and application functions and act as network servers . Services can run in a different context than user applications and typically do not offer many user-configurable options . For example, the Print Spooler service does not require a user to be logged on to run and functions independently of the user who is logged on to the system . Drivers generally communicate directly with hardware devices, whereas services usually communicate with hardware through drivers . Driver and service files are typically stored in the %SystemRoot% \System32 and %SystemRoot%\System32\Drivers folders and use .exe, .sys, or .dll file name extensions . Drivers are also services . Therefore, during kernel initialization, the Windows Boot Loader and Ntoskrnl use the information stored in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM \CurrentControlSet\Services\Servicename registry subkeys to determine both the drivers and services to load . In the Servicename subkeys, the Start entry specifies when to start the service . For example, the Windows Boot Loader loads all drivers for which Start is 0, such as device drivers for hard disk controllers . After execution is transferred to the kernel, the kernel loads drivers and services for which Start is 1 .
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