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How Computers Work, Ninth Edition by Timothy Edward Downs, Ron White

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Chapter 3. How a PC Comes Alive

How a PC Comes Alive

A personal computer can’t do anything useful unless it’s running an operating system—a basic type of software, such as Microsoft Windows, that acts as a supervisor for all the applications, games, or other programs you use. The operating system sets the rules for using memory, drives, and other parts of the computer. But before a PC can run an operating system, it needs some way to load the operating system from disk to random access memory (RAM). The way to do this is with the bootstrap—a small amount of code that’s a permanent part of the PC, or simply to boot.

The bootstrap is aptly named because it lets the PC ...

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