Windows Boot Manager (What it is and why it matters)

Shaant Minhas

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The Windows Boot Manager is a piece of software that loads your computer’s operating system during the start-up process. Not only that, but it can also help you choose a specific operating system from a list of operating systems, if you’re using multiple operating systems. It’s one of the many handy tools at our disposal that makes our life easier in the Windows environment. In what follows, we’ll run through a brief introduction on Boot Manager. So let’s dive in.

But why is Windows Boot Manager necessary?

The Windows Boot Manager is also known as Boot loader occasionally. The reason is technical. All your files—including the operating system and other critical system data—are stored on the hard drive when it’s powered off.

Now when you turn on your system, it’s the job of the boot manager to bring your operating system—along with other files—to your computer’s RAM so that it can start. In fact, a boot manager can also let you boot your device to a CD/DVD drive, USB drive or a floppy drive, apart from the operating system itself.

Or as Microsoft puts it on their blog:

“The Windows Boot Manager is a Microsoft-provided UEFI application that sets up the boot environment. Inside the boot environment, individual boot applications started by the Boot Manager provide functionality for all customer-facing scenarios before the device boots.”

As you can see, the Boot Manager plays quite an essential role in the working of Windows. Basically, it’s a part of Windows Boot loading architecture which includes the Windows operating system loader (Winload.exe) and Windows resume loader (Winresume.exe), apart from the Windows Boot Manger (Bootmgr.exe) itself.

The Boot Manager is stored in the root directory and is not only responsible for starting your PC, but does a host of other things like:

  1. Display shows up the boot menu.
  2. Loads system-specific boot loader.
  3. Moves the boot parameters to the boot loader.

Can you disable the Boot Manager?

Now, as handy as the Boot Manager tool is, it’s not without with its disadvantages. One of the biggest snags of Boot Manager is that it slows down your Windows boot up process considerably. And, while you can’t remove it from your computer due to obvious technical reasons, what you can do is tweak its settings so that you reduce the amount of time it takes to power up your PC. Here’s how:

  1. Launch the Windows Control Panel. Go to Start menu search bar, type in ‘control panel,’ and select the Best match.
  2. Select System and Security, scroll down to Administrative Tools and click on it.
  3. From there, open System Configuration.
  4. Now head to the Boot tab in the System Configuration dialog box.
  5. Select the specific operating system and set the Timeout settings to the lowest possible number.
  6. Finally, click on OK or Apply.

system configuration

As soon you do this, your Windows start up speed will get boosted up by a considerable margin.

Related: How to check your BIOS boot time in Windows 10 (and what it means)

Choosing an operating system

As we’ve said above, Boot Manager helps you choose your operating system during dual booting (running multiple operating systems on a single machine). Now if you have two or more operating systems installed, it’s important you’ve set things up in a way that lets you pick the operating system you want to run, in every boot up. Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Go to the Start menu search bar, type in ‘msconfig,’ and select the Best match.
  2. Head to the Boot tab, and from the list of available operating systems, remove the option of default operating system.

From now on, whenever you boot your PC you will be asked to pick your operating system.

The Windows Boot Manager

The Boot Manager is an essential aspect of running the Windows operating system. And that’s the reason Microsoft has designed things such that you can’t disable or remove it at all. Hopefully, this brief guide helped you get clear on what Boot Manager is, and why it’s such an essential component of not only Windows, but also other operating systems.