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Definition

loader

In a computer operating system , a loader is a component that locates a given program (which can be an application or, in some cases, part of the operating system itself) in offline storage (such as a hard disk ), loads it into main storage (in a personal computer, it's called random access memory ), and gives that program control of the computer (allows it to execute its instruction s).

A program that is loaded may itself contain components that are not initially loaded into main storage, but can be loaded if and when their logic is needed. In a multitasking operating system, a program that is sometimes called a dispatcher juggles the computer processor's time among different tasks and calls the loader when a program associated with a task is not already in main storage. (By program here, we mean a binary file that is the result of a programming language compilation, linkage editing, or some other program preparation process.)

This was last updated in April 2005
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