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Difference between Cold booting and Warm booting in Operating System

Booting is the process of operations that involves loading and executing the OS from the point where the user switches on the power button. It is also known as starting, rebooting, or booting up. The starting instructions are loaded from the computer's ROM during booting. The current boot disk is used to load the operating system. Usually, an internal hard drive serves as the boot disk. Once the OS has been loaded, and the system is ready for use, the boot procedure is complete. Cold booting and warm booting are the two types of booting.

In this article, you will learn the difference between cold and warm booting in the operating system. But before discussing differences, you must know about the cold and warm booting.

What is Cold Booting?

Cold booting is the mechanism of starting a system after it has been turned off. Generally, it is accomplished by pushing the computer's power button. The "Power on Self-Test" (POST) is performed via cold booting. It is a set of system checks performed at the start of the boot procedure. In other words, before beginning the operating system, it checks to see if all of the prerequisites have been satisfied and the hardware is functioning correctly.

The user is instructed to turn off the machine before beginning troubleshooting completely. After that, cold booting is performed, removing all temporary data from the system and resolving any faults that may have affected the computer's operation.

Steps of Cold Booting

There are some steps of cold booting are as follows:

  1. A computer system automatically loads the predefined memory location into the IR (Instruction Register) when it is turned on, preparing the instructions for execution. The memory location contains the entire bootstrap program, which is typically placed in the ROM.
  2. The bootstrap program's primary function is to run a diagnostic test known as the Power On Self Test (POST), which evaluates the status of the computer system's various components. It contains the testing of the system bus, RAM, internal clock, disk drivers, visual display card, and keyboard are all tested. A quick beep produced by the speaker indicates that the test is successful.
  3. After passing the POST test, it loads a block of code into the main memory by reading it from the boot sector. The code block maintains information about the bootstrap program's remaining location section, which is loaded next.
  4. The OS kernel and device drivers are loaded into memory when the entire bootstrap software is loaded, allowing the system to function properly.

What is Warm Booting?

Warm booting is the technique of restarting a system. It may be started up using the OS. In Windows, you may warm boot by choosing the restart option from the start menu. On a Mac, warm booting may be accomplished by selecting restart from the Apple menu.

Warm booting is more prevalent than cold booting since most users leave their systems in sleep mode while not in use. Warm booting does not include self-test power, but it does complete the remainder of the boot routine. Before restarting the system, it also loads any system files that have been installed.

Limitations of the Warm Booting

Warm booting may be harmful to the system and data in some instances due to the forced actions over the files and apps for terminating them. In other words, enabling a boot while a file or app is active may result in losing valuable data because there is no time to save the data to disk before the boot occurs. It may potentially cause several system problems, including a full system shutdown.

Key differences between Cold Booting and Warm Booting in Operating System

Difference between Cold booting and Warm booting in Operating System

The OS has various key differences between Cold Booting and Warm Booting. Some key differences between Cold Booting and Warm Booting are as follows:

  1. The technique of restarting a system from a power-off state and returning it to normal function is known as cold booting. On the other hand, Warm booting is the technique of restarting an already-on system without completely turning it off.
  2. Cold booting conducts a more thorough system reset than warm booting.
  3. The computer's power button starts the cold booting. On the other hand, Warm booting is started by the operating system.
  4. Cold booting is a safe type of booting, whereas Warm booting is dangerous. The consequences of warm booting can be disastrous for the machine and the data, particularly if it has not been preserved.
  5. The POST test is run upon cold booting to verify the different computer components. In contrast, the POST test is skipped during warm booting.
  6. Cold booting is also known as hard booting, slow start, and cold start. On the other hand, Warm booting is also known as soft booting.
  7. Cold booting is less prevalent than warm booting.

Head-to-head comparison between the Cold Booting and Hard Booting in Operating System

The operating system has various head-to-head comparisons between Cold Booting and Hard Booting. Some comparisons of Cold Booting and Hard Booting are as follows:

Features Cold Booting Warm Booting
Definition It is the process of restarting a computer from a shutdown or power-off state and restoring it to regular operation. It is the technique of restarting an already turned-on system without completely shutting it down.
Initialized It is initialized by choosing the power button on the system. It is initialized by the reset button or by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del simultaneously.
Alternate names It's also known as cold start, hard booting, or slow start. It is also called soft booting.
Consequence It doesn't affect the data or other hardware. It may severely affect the system causing data loss.
Power On Self-Test It includes POST. It doesn't include POST.
Frequency of Usage` Its performed frequently It's performed occasionally.


The system's issue or fault, which may be anything from a frozen program to an unresponsive application to a forced system reboot after a firmware upgrade, affects your chosen boot option. Let's say a program or application doesn't respond, and a warm boot is preferable since a straightforward reset command could return the system to its default state without cutting power. On the other hand, a cold boot is quite helpful in combating system crashes that require a complete system diagnosis by forcing the machine to restart. Cold booting has the drawback of completely resetting the hardware, which wipes out all of the memory.

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