A term used to refer to the process of starting a computer, as in the phrase, «Please boot the computer.» The term «boot» also refers specifically to the series of steps by which a computer locates and loads the operating system once the power is turned on. This series of steps is usually referred to as the boot sequence, and it is dependent on both the type of operating system installed on the machine and the type of hardware platform (for example, x86 platform or Alpha platform).
The term «warm boot» refers to resetting the system or rebooting using Ctrl+Alt+Delete. The power to the system is not interrupted during a warm boot, but the boot process starts again from the beginning using the system BIOS.
The term «cold boot» refers to shutting down a computer and actually turning off the power source, and then turning it back on. Cold boots are sometimes necessary after installing or configuring some legacy hardware devices to ensure that the devices are properly initialized. For example, sometimes if you change the configuration parameters of an internal modem, you need to cold boot your system for these changes to take effect.