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Troubleshooting the boot process

by mota

This page is a work in progress. Please help me improve it by pointing out errors and omissions. Also by letting me know of any authoritative resources on this topic. Please, I'm begging you: email me! 

We see quite a few questions related to the boot up process (especially in multi-boot scenarios). So I thought it would be a good idea to start a page on troubleshooting it. 

Because I think that the best troubleshooting tool is an understanding of how things work, I will start with a flowchart that gives an overview of the complex and hacky boot process. This first draft covers only the Windows MBR-type boot process. Later I hope to add information covering GRUB, LILO, and UEFI/GPT processes. 

Links I have collected but not yet fully assimilated: