Files needed to boot an operating system on a computer. Each operating system has its own set of boot files needed to locate, load, and initialize the operating system during the boot sequence. For example, the MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows 3.x platforms use the hidden files io.sys and msdos.sys and the file command.com. Configuration information stored in the text files config.sys and autoexec.bat is also used during the process. On Windows 95 and Windows 98 platforms, the files used are io.sys, msdos.sys, and win.com, with the files config.sys and autoexec.bat used optionally to support legacy hardware.
The files needed to boot the Windows NT and Windows 2000 operating systems vary depending on whether the x86 platform or the Alpha platform is used. For example, for Windows NT on the x86 platform, the boot files include the following:
The boot sequence also uses various device drivers and the system hive.