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A boot loader is a type of program that loads and starts the boot time tasks and processes of an operating system or the computer system. It enables loading the operating system within the computer memory when a computer is started or booted up.
A boot loader is also known as a boot manager or bootstrap loader.
A boot loader primarily manages and executes the boot sequence of a computer system. A boot loader program is typically started after the computer or the BIOS have finished performing the initial power and hardware device checks and tests. It fetches the OS kernel from the hard disk or any specified boot device within the boot sequence, into the main memory. A boot loader is associated with only a single operating system. An operating system can also have multiple boot loader programs classified as primary and secondary boot loaders, where a secondary boot loader might be larger and more capable than the primary boot loader.