Writing a Bootloader

What is a Bootloader?

A bootloader is a special program that is executed each time a bootable device is initialized by the computer during its power on or reset that will load the kernel image into the memory. This application is very close to hardware and to the architecture of the CPU. All x86 PCs boot in Real Mode. In this mode you have only 16-bit instructions. Our bootloader runs in Real Mode and our bootloader is a 16-bit program.

How this works?

When you switch on the PC the BIOS want to boot up an OS which must be found somewhere in hard disks, floppy disk, CDs, etc. The order in which BIOS searches an OS is user configurable. Next the BIOS reads the first 512 byte sector of the bootable disk. Usually a sector is 512 bytes in size. This is known as the Master Boot Record (MBR). BIOS simply loads the contents of the MBR into memory location โ€œ0x7c00โ€ and jumps to that location to start executing whatever code is in the MBR. Our bootloader should be 512 bytes in size as well.