The Linux startup process (or boot process) is the manner in which the Linux operating system is started. The process begins with the BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) which undertakes hardware-platform specific startup tasks, and starts the partition boot code. The latter contains the first part of a Linux boot loader. The boot loader will typically give the user a choice of possible boot options. After one of these options is selected, the boot loader then loads the operating system. The most popular boot loader package for Linux is the GRand Unified Bootloader, commonly known as GRUB.
Boot time has a real impact on the first impression of the speed of a system. The time taken for the computer to be ready for use is also important in realising a positive experience for the user. One of the most dramatic ways to improve boot times is to install a solid state drive. However, if you are not looking to replace your mechanical disk drive, there are a number of tools available for Linux that can also help to significantly improve boot times. A word of caution. Before using this type of software, we would strongly recommend that you backup your system as there is always a slight risk of data corruption. In this article, we also identify software to help you customise the boot loader, and to create bootable live USB drives without burning optical media.
To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 6 useful boot utilities. Hopefully, there will be something here to improve the boot time of your machine, and to make the configuration of the boot process easier.
Now, let's explore the 6 boot utilities. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, a screenshot, together with links to relevant resources and reviews.
|Bootchart||Tool for performance analysis and visualization of the boot process|
|Boot-Up Manager||Graphical sysv-rc runlevel editor for Debian or Debian-based systems|
|e4rat||Ext4 - Reducing Access Times|
|OProfile||Low-overhead, transparent system-wide profiler|
|Grub Customizer||Graphical interface to configure the grub2/burg settings|
|UNetbootin||Universal Netbook installer|