Windows 7 / Getting Started

Important Startup Files

For Windows to start, the system and boot partitions must contain the files listed in Table-4.

Table-4 Windows Startup Files

File NameDisk LocationDescription
BootMgrRoot of the system partitionThe Windows Boot Manager.
WinLoad%SystemRoot%\System32The Windows Boot Loader.
BCD\BootA file that specifies the paths to operating system installations and other information required for Windows to start.
Ntoskrnl.exe%SystemRoot%\System32The core (also called the kernel) of the Windows operating system. Code that runs as part of the kernel does so in privileged processor mode and has direct access to system data and hardware.
Hal.dll%SystemRoot%\System32The HAL dynamic-link library (DLL) file. The HAL abstracts low-level hardware details from the operating system and provides a common programming interface to devices of the same type (such as video adapters).
Smss.exe%SystemRoot%\System32The Session Manager file. Session Manager is a user-mode process created by the kernel during startup. It handles critical startup tasks including creating page files and performing delayed file rename and delete operations.
Csrss.exe%SystemRoot%\System32The Win32 Subsystem file. The Win32 Subsystem is started by Session Manager and is required by Windows to function.
Winlogon.exe%SystemRoot%\System32The Logon Process file, which handles user logon requests and intercepts the Ctrl+Alt+Delete logon key sequence. The Logon Process is started by Session Manager. This is a required feature.
Services.exe%SystemRoot%\System32The Service Control Manager is responsible for starting and stopping services and is a required feature of Windows.
Lsass.exe%SystemRoot%\System32The Local Security Authentication Server process is called by the Logon Process when authenticating users and is a required feature.
System registry file%SystemRoot%\System32 \Config\SystemThe file that contains data used to create the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM. This key contains information that the operating system requires to start devices and system services.
Device drivers%SystemRoot%\System32 \DriversDriver files in this folder are for hardware devices, such as keyboard, mouse, and video.

In Table-4, the term %SystemRoot% is one of many environment variables used to associate string values, such as folder or file paths, to variables that Windows applications and services use. For example, by using environment variables, scripts can run without modification on computers that have different configurations. To obtain a list of environment variables that you can use for troubleshooting, type set at the Windows command prompt.

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In this tutorial:

  1. Configuring Startup and Troubleshooting Startup Issues
  2. What is New with Windows Startup
  3. Boot Configuration Data
  4. BCD Stores
  5. System Recovery
  6. Windows Boot Performance Diagnostics
  7. Understanding the Startup Process
  8. Power-on Self Test Phase
  9. Initial Startup Phase
  10. Initial Startup Phase for BIOS Computers
  11. Initial Startup Phase for EFI Computers
  12. Windows Boot Manager Phase
  13. Windows Boot Loader Phase
  14. Kernel Loading Phase
  15. Control Sets
  16. Values for the Start Registry Entry
  17. Value Descriptions for Type Entries
  18. Other Registry Entries in the Servicename Subkeys
  19. Session Manager
  20. Logon Phase
  21. Important Startup Files
  22. How to Configure Startup Settings
  23. How to Use the Startup And Recovery Dialog Box
  24. How to Use the System Configuration Tool
  25. How to Use BCDEdit
  26. How to Interpret BCDEdit Output
  27. How to Back Up and Restore Settings
  28. How to Change the Default Operating System Entry
  29. How to Change the Boot Menu Time-Out
  30. How to Change the Order of Boot Manager Menu Items
  31. How to Create an Entry for Another Operating System
  32. How to Remove a Boot Entry
  33. How to View and Update Global Debugger Settings
  34. How to Remove the Windows 7 Boot Loader
  35. How to Configure a User Account to Automatically Log On
  36. How to Disable the Windows Startup Sound
  37. How to Speed Up the Startup Process
  38. The Process of Troubleshooting Startup
  39. Startup Troubleshooting Before the Starting Windows Logo Appears
  40. How to Start the System Recovery Tools
  41. How to Run Startup Repair
  42. How to Use BootRec.exe
  43. How to Diagnose Hardware Problems
  44. How to Use System Restore
  45. How to Manually Repair the Boot Sector
  46. How to Manually Update the BCD Registry File
  47. How to Manually Replace Files
  48. How to Reinstall Windows
  49. Startup Troubleshooting After the Starting Windows Logo Appears
  50. How to Restore the Last Known Good Configuration
  51. How to Enable Boot Logging
  52. How to Start in Safe Mode
  53. How to Identify Failing Drivers and Services
  54. How to Analyze Startup Problems in Safe Mode
  55. Event Viewer (Eventvwr.msc)
  56. System Information
  57. Error Reporting Service
  58. How to Use Device Manager to View or Change Resources
  59. How to Analyze Boot Logs
  60. How to Roll Back Drivers
  61. How to Temporarily Disable a Service
  62. Troubleshooting Startup Problems After Logon
  63. How to Temporarily Disable Startup Applications and Processes
  64. How to Disable Startup Applications Using the Shift Key
  65. How to Disable Startup Programs Using the System Configuration Utility
  66. How to Disable Startup Applications Configured Using Group Policy or Logon Scripts
  67. How to Permanently Disable Startup Applications and Processes
  68. Manually Remove the Entry