Browse Definitions:
Definition

boot sector

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

A boot sector is a specially assigned section of a storage drive containing the files required to start the operating system (OS) and other bootable programs. Bootable programs include some antivirus programs, drive partitioning software, backup tools and diagnostic disks as well as standard operating systems.

Initially when a computer is started, the basic input output system (BIOS), extensible firmware interface (EFI) or unified extensible firmware interface (UEFI) launches the boot loader of the assigned device or the first of a preference-ordered list of boot devices. Often this process involves copying the bootloader into faster RAM first.

On a PC-compatible platform or a storage device that has not been partitioned or logically broken up into a number of storage volumes, there is generally only one type of boot sector, a master boot record (MBR). This is the first sector on the drive. On systems that are partitioned the first sector of each volume contains a volume boot record (VBR).

While newer systems such as EFI and UEFI can run as a lightweight OS and launch shell programs without the use of a boot sector, standard operating systems continue to use this method of launching. Corruption of the boot sector is a common cause of startup issues. Boot sectors are often an attack vector as well because they launch code automatically. Hackers and boot sector viruses sometimes try to inject malicious code that will run prior to the launch of the many security layers.

This was last updated in December 2016

Continue Reading About boot sector

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

  • audit program (audit plan)

    An audit program, also called an audit plan, is an action plan that documents what procedures an auditor will follow to validate ...

SearchSecurity

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

SearchStorage

  • nearline storage

    Nearline storage is the on-site storage of data on removable media.

  • application-aware storage

    Application-aware storage is a storage system with built-in intelligence about relevant applications and their utilization ...

  • Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA)

    Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) is a technology that allows computers in a network to exchange data in main memory without ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • 3D XPoint

    3D XPoint is memory storage technology jointly developed by Intel and Micron Technology Inc.

  • RRAM or ReRAM (resistive RAM)

    RRAM or ReRAM (resistive random access memory) is a form of nonvolatile storage that operates by changing the resistance of a ...

  • JEDEC

    JEDEC is a global industry group that develops open standards for microelectronics.

SearchCloudStorage

  • Google Cloud Storage

    Google Cloud Storage is an enterprise public cloud storage platform that can house large unstructured data sets.

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

Close