It is useful to understand what happens behind the scenes when you switch on your computer from an idle machine to an operable and functional system. This process is called booting. There are essentially two forms of booting – the soft boot and the hard boot. The cold boot or hard boot involves powering the computer up from an initial zero power supply. A warm boot on the other hand takes place when a software application or operating system triggers the computer to perform a reboot. It is mostly done using CTR + ALT + DELETE keys when the computer stops responding or the system updates is required to take effect.

A successful boot is dependent on the hardware, BIOS and operating system files to function without errors. When an error occurs, you will be notified by error messages, beeping sounds or in the worst scenario, a blank screen or a blue screen of death. Power on a computer to start the boot up process.

Boot-up Process

The boot-up process is a list of detailed procedures that the system undergoes to perform all system checks and load all necessary files to bring the computer to an operable state.

The Windows boot-up process comprises of the following procedures:

a. The Power-On Self Test Phase

b. BIOS ROM Phase

c. Boot Loader Phase

d. Operating System Configuration Phase

e. Security & Logon Phase

Log On Screen

You must log on to the PC before you can use it. Each user is given a user name and a password which must be entered in the log-on screen before Windows will start up. When you log on you will have access to your own personal space known as computer desktop where you access programs, files and icons .

The default Login screen for Windows computers appears when you switch on the machine. To login; Enter your username and password in the respective boxes.

When you enter your password, Windows will display a series of ●●●●●●●●●●●s to protect your

password from wandering eyes.

Press ENTER on the keyboard or click OK

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