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Put on the boot

Know the difference between a cold, hard boot and a warm, soft one. Thursday, June 28, 2001 Put on the boot Know the difference between a cold, hard boot and a warm, soft one.

There are two different types of PC boot processes. A “cold” boot is just that–the PC is started from the “Power Off” state (a throwback to the old days of computing when the unpowered chips would have cooled off). It will go through the entire POST (Power On Self Test) sequence before loading the operating system. This is usually called a “hard boot,” and takes a bit longer to accomplish, but this may be necessary with serious hardware problems. A “warm” boot is basically a reset–restarting the PC without turning it off (i.e., pressing the Reset button or selecting “Restart” from the Windows shut-down menu). In most cases, the POST is abbreviated during a warm boot, so booting is a little bit faster, and this is handy for dealing with program crashes. This is also sometimes called a “soft boot.”

Formerly part of Computer Currents, Stephen J. Bigelow’s Computer Advisor column has been resurrected on computeruser.com as a daily tech tip column. Find Stephen at www.dlspubs.com.

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