Title:
Method for quickly booting a computer system
United States Patent RE40092


Abstract:
A method for quickly booting a personal computer system using boot configuration information on memory and the attached devices that was created and saved in a hard disk at the preceding boot process. The method for a quick boot process includes the steps of performing a power-on self test POST) operation when a personal computer system is powered on or a reset button is pressed; performing a normal boot process after the POST operation; saving the contents of memory and the status of the attached devices to a hard disk; checking if a reboot is requested; restoring the saved boot configuration information from the hard disk, after POST is completed during the reboot process; checking whether or not an initial device configuration file and/or an automatic batch file were changed; and executing commands in the two files and saving a newly created boot configuration information to the hard disk for future boot. The personal computer system, may reboot quickly because of omission of execution of the initial device configuration filed and the automatic batch file.



Inventors:
Kang, Seong-cheol (Busan-Dong Osan, KR)
Application Number:
10/918293
Publication Date:
02/19/2008
Filing Date:
08/12/2004
Assignee:
Protimus Technologies LLC (Washington, DC, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
713/1
International Classes:
G06F9/445
Field of Search:
714/15, 713/2, 713/1, 714/3
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
6609182Smart hibernation on an operating system with page translation2003-08-19Pedrizetti et al.711/159
6567774Method and system for configuring and updating networked client stations using a virtual disk and a snapshot disk2003-05-20Lee et al.703/23
6529966Booting a computer system using a last known good set of configuration data2003-03-04Willman et al.710/10
6401198STORING SYSTEM-LEVEL MASS STORAGE CONFIGURATION DATA IN NON-VOLATILE MEMORY ON EACH MASS STORAGE DEVICE TO ALLOW FOR REBOOT/POWER-ON RECONFIGURATION OF ALL INSTALLED MASS STORAGE DEVICES TO THE SAME CONFIGURATION AS LAST USE2002-06-04Harmer et al.713/1
6374353Information processing apparatus method of booting information processing apparatus at a high speed2002-04-16Settsu et al.713/2
6279109Computing system and operating method for booting and running a graphical user interface (GUI) with r/w hard drive partition unavailable2001-08-21Brundridge713/2
6209088Computer hibernation implemented by a computer operating system2001-03-27Reneris et al.713/1
6173417Initializing and restarting operating systems2001-01-09Merrill714/15
6098158Software-enabled fast boot2000-08-01Lay et al.711/162
6073232Method for minimizing a computer's initial program load time after a system reset or a power-on using non-volatile storage2000-06-06Kroeker et al.713/1
5978913Computer with periodic full power-on self test1999-11-02Broyles et al.713/2
5925129Desktop computer system having compressed suspend to hardfile1999-07-20Comb et al.713/300
5870613Power mangement system for a computer1999-02-09White et al.713/300
5784628Method and system for controlling power consumption in a computer system1998-07-21Reneris713/300
5745669System and method for recovering PC configurations1998-04-28Hugard et al.714/3
5710930Apparatus and a method for allowing an operating system of a computer system to persist across a power off and on cycle1998-01-20Laney et al.713/300
5564054Fail-safe computer boot apparatus and method1996-10-08Bramnick et al.713/2
5513359Desktop computer having a single-switch suspend/resume function1996-04-30Clark et al.713/323
5392415System for grouping non-contiguous pages belonging to a storage object for page out1995-02-21Badovinatz et al.718/100
5276890Resume control system and method for executing resume processing while checking operation mode of CPU1994-01-04Arai396/750
5269022Method and apparatus for booting a computer system by restoring the main memory from a backup memory1993-12-07Shinjo et al.713/2
5269019Non-volatile memory storage and bilevel index structure for fast retrieval of modified records of a disk track1993-12-07Peterson et al.707/205
5155833Multi-purpose cache memory selectively addressable either as a boot memory or as a cache memory1992-10-13Cullison et al.713/2
4959774Shadow memory system for storing variable backup blocks in consecutive time periods1990-09-25Davis714/6
4885770Boot system for distributed digital data processing system1989-12-05Croll379/269



Other References:
“Fast DOS Soft Boot” IBM Technical Disclosure Bulletin, Feb. 1, 1994, vol. 37, Issue 2B, pp. 185-186.
Primary Examiner:
CAO, CHUN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Carlineo, Spicer & Kee, LLC (Pipersville, PA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method for fast booting a computer system, comprising the steps of: A. performing a power on self test (POST) of basic input output system (BIOS) when the computer system is powered on or reset is requested; B. checking whether a boot configuration information including a system booting state which was created while executing a previous normal booting process exists or not, wherein the boot configuration information comprises selected portions of main memory contents and information indicative of a status of hardware; C. storing the boot configuration information from execution of the POST operation before loading a graphic interface (GUI) program, based on the checking result; and D. loading the graphic user interface (GUI) program.

2. A The method according to claim 1, wherein said step C stores the boot configuration information into a disk storage medium.

3. A The method according to claim 1, wherein said step C stores the boot configuration information after execution of the POST operation is completed and before an extended memory becomes in use.

4. A The method according to claim 1, wherein said step C comprises the steps of: checking contents of a memory block of a predetermined size; storing the contents of the memory block into a disc storage medium based on the checking result; and storing the address of the stored memory block in the disc storage medium.

5. A method according to claim 1, wherein the boot configuration information in which system booting state is included comprises states of memory and hardware.

6. A method for fast booting a computer system, comprising the steps of: A. performing a power on self test (POST) of basic input output system (BIOS) when the computer system is powered on or reset is requested; B. resuming a boot configuration information including a system booting state by using the boot configuration information which was stored while executing a previous normal boot process, wherein the boot configuration information comprises selected portions of main memory contents; and C. loading a graphic user interface (GUI) program.

7. A The method according to claim 6, wherein said step B further comprises the steps of: checking if a designated boot configuration information is different from the resuming boot configuration information; executing an initial driving program based on a modified configuration information; and updating the boot configuration information after said execution.

8. A The method according to claim 6, wherein said step B comprises the steps of: determining whether to resume said stored boot configuration information; resuming the contents of memory blocks, addresses of which have been stored while executing a previous normal booting process; and writing zeros into other memory blocks than the resumed memory blocks.

9. A The method according to claim 6, wherein said step B restores said stored boot configuration information before an extended memory becomes in use.

10. A method for quickly booting a computer system in which Windows operating system is installed, comprising the steps of: A. performing a power on self test (POST) of basic input output system (BIOS) when the computer system is powered on or reset is requested; B. checking whether a boot configuration information including a system booting state which was created while executing a previous normal boot process exists or not, wherein the boot configuration information comprises selected portions of main memory contents and information indicative of a status of hardware; C. storing the a current boot configuration information, if there is no stored boot configuration information; D. performing the POST operation when the computer system is rebooted; E. resuming the stored boot configuration information; and F. updating the boot configuration information before a graphic user interface (GUI) program is loaded, if a designated boot configuration information is different from the boot configuration information.

11. A The method according to claim 10, wherein said step B calls an interrupt for bootstrap loader to check if the boot configuration information which was created while executing a previous normal booting process.

12. A The method according to claim 10, wherein said step F determines whether or not the designated boot configuration information is different from the resumed boot configuration information based on changes of CONFIG.SYS file and/or AUTOEXEC.BAT file.

13. A method for supporting fast booting a computer system through storing/resuming a memory status state of the computer system, comprising the steps of: checking whether to store a memory contents status state; checking memory contents of a certain unit plurality of units of the main memory; selectively storing on a unit by unit basis portions of the main memory contents written in an area necessary for system operation based on a result of the memory contents checking result ; and resuming the selectively stored portions of the main memory contents for fast booting.

14. A The method according to claim 13, wherein the a certain unit is composed of a segment having 64 bytes.

15. A The method according to claim 13, wherein the storing step stores the contents if a value in a memory block is not ‘0’, and does not store the contents if the value is ‘0’.

16. A The method according to claim 13, wherein the storing step stores an address of a memory block unit if value of a the memory block unit is not ‘0’, and does not store the address if the value is ‘0’.

17. The method according to claim 13, wherein the resuming step resumes pre-stored memory contents of the certain a memory unit while writing ‘0’ in a remainder of the certain memory unit.

18. A The method according to claim 13, wherein the resuming step resumes the stored contents belonging to a corresponding segment if the system is resumed from a hibernation state to a normal state, and does not resume a remaining portion of the segment.

19. A method for fast booting a computer system, comprising the steps of: A. performing a power on self test (POST) of basic input output system (BIOS) functions when the computer system is powered on or reset is requested; B. checking whether a previous boot configuration information created while executing a previous normal booting process exists or not, wherein the previous boot configuration information comprises selectively stored portions of main memory contents and information indicative of a status of hardware; C. storing a current boot configuration information after execution of the POST operation based on the checking result; and D. loading a graphic user interface (GUI) program.

20. A method for quickly booting a computer system in which a Windows operating system is installed, comprising the steps of: A. performing a power on self test (POST) of basic input output system (BIOS) functions when the computer system is powered on or reset is requested; B. checking whether a boot configuration information created while executing a previous normal boot process is stored or not, wherein the boot configuration information comprises selectively stored portions of main memory contents and information indicative of a status of hardware; C. storing a current boot configuration information, if there is no stored boot configuration information; D. performing the POST operation when the computer system is rebooted; and E. restoring the stored boot configuration information.

21. A method for supporting fast booting of a computer system through storing/restoring main memory contents of the computer system, comprising the steps of: checking whether to store the main memory contents; checking the main memory contents on a block-by-block basis; selectively storing a portion of the main memory contents based on the result of the main memory contents checking; and restoring the selectively stored portion of the main memory contents for fast booting.

22. The method of claim 21, wherein the stored main memory contents portion is stored in uncompressed form.

23. The method of claim 21, wherein the block-by-block basis involves a predetermined block size.

24. A method for supporting fast booting of a computer system through storing/restoring main memory contents of the computer system, comprising the steps of: checking whether to store main memory contents; checking memory contents of a main memory on a segment-by-segment basis; selectively storing portions of the main memory contents based on the result of the checking of the main memory contents; and restoring the selectively stored portions of the main memory contents for fast booting.

25. The method of claim 24, wherein the selectively stored portions of the main memory contents are stored in uncompressed form.

26. The method of claim 24, wherein the segment-by-segment basis involves a consistent segment size.

27. The method of claim 24, wherein the fast booting continues after the selectively stored portions of the main memory contents are restored.

28. A method for fast booting a computer system, comprising the steps of: A. performing a power on self test (POST) of basic input output system (BIOS) functions when the computer system is powered on or reset is requested; B. restoring boot configuration information comprised of selectively stored portions of main memory contents and status of attached devices, which was previously stored while executing a previous boot process; C. loading a graphic user interface (GUI) program.

29. The method of claim 28, wherein the restored boot configuration information is restored prior to the use of extended memory by the graphical user interface (GUI) program.

30. A method for quick booting a computer system, comprising the steps of: a) performing a power on self test (POST) when the computer system is powered on or reset; b) executing any further instructions not included in the POST to further initialize hardware in the computer system to a known state and to place the computer system in a low level configuration for a boot operation to proceed; c) storing a current state of the computer system in a configuration information file; d) allowing the boot operation to continue; e) checking during a subsequent boot operation to detect any changes to the computer system that would affect the low level configuration relative to the configuration information file; f) skipping at least the execution of instructions previously executed in step b if no changes are detected that would affect the low level configuration relative to the configuration information file; g) reloading the configuration information file and allowing the subsequent boot operation to proceed from that point if no changes are detected that would affect the low level configuration relative to the configuration information file.

31. A method for quickly booting a personal computer system using boot configuration information related to attached devices and a computer memory that was created and saved in a storage medium during a preceding boot process, wherein the method comprises: a) performing an initial process operation to diagnose devices attached to the personal computer system when the personal computer system is powered on or a reset button is pressed; b) referencing files specifying one or more of the attached devices and executing software to load device drivers into the computer memory and to initialize one or more of the attached devices; c) loading additional files and software to identify and execute any additional programs to be executed prior to initiating normal user operations; d) saving to the storage medium information reflecting a status of the attached devices, the computer memory and/or the additional programs; e) in a subsequent restart operation, checking if the information requires updating; and f) if no updating is necessary, loading the saved information into the computer memory and resuming normal personal computer system operations, thereby bypassing execution of steps (b) through (d) above, resulting in a quick booting operation.

32. The method of claim 31, wherein the storage medium comprises a disk drive.

33. A method for operating a computer system comprised of: a) performing a Power on Self Test (POST) operation; b) executing a bootstrap loader program which prepares the computer system for execution of a graphical operating system; c) writing selected portions of memory contents from a main memory to a storage medium location; d) executing the graphical operating system; e) checking during a subsequent boot operation to detect any changes to the computer system that would affect the execution of the bootstrap loader program; f) skipping at least a portion of the execution of the bootstrap loader program during the subsequent boot operation if no changes are detected; g) writing the selected portions of main memory contents from the storage medium to the main memory and allowing the subsequent boot operation to proceed from that point if no changes are detected that would affect the execution of the bootstrap loader program.

34. The method of claim 33, wherein the selected portions of main memory contents written from the main memory to the storage medium location in step (c) are selected on a segment-by-segment basis based in part on the presence of actual data.

35. The method of claim 33, wherein the selected portions of main memory contents are written prior to the use of extended memory in the computer system.

36. The method of claim 33, wherein the storage medium comprises a disk drive.

37. A method for supporting an operation of a computer system through storing/restoring main memory contents of the computer system, comprising the steps of: checking whether to store main memory contents; checking main memory contents of the main memory on a block-by-block basis; selectively storing portions of the main memory contents based on a result of the checking main memory contents; and restoring the selectively stored portions of the main memory contents for the operation of the computer system.

38. The method of claim 37, wherein the selectively stored portions of the main memory contents are stored in uncompressed form.

39. The method of claim 37, wherein the block-by-block basis involves a predetermined block size.

40. The method of claim 37, wherein the selectively stored portions of the main memory contents are restored during a boot operation prior to the use of extended memory by an operating system.

41. A method for supporting an operation of a computer system through storing/restoring main memory contents of the computer system, comprising the steps of: checking whether to store main memory contents; checking main memory contents of the main memory on a segment-by-segment basis; selectively storing portions of the main memory contents based on a result of the checking main memory contents; and restoring the selectively stored portions of the main memory contents for the operation of the computer system.

42. The method of claim 41, wherein the selectively stored portions of the main memory contents are stored in uncompressed form.

43. The method of claim 41, wherein the segment-by-segment basis involves a consistent segment size.

44. The method of claim 41, wherein the selectively stored portions of the main memory contents are restored during a boot operation prior to the use of extended memory by an operating system.

45. A method for operating a computing system comprising the steps of: carrying out a first boot up process for the computing system, wherein as a result of the first boot up process the computing system is brought to a state of operation in which application software may be executed, wherein during the first boot up process device configuration programming statements are executed, wherein based on the device configuration programming statements boot configuration data is written to a main memory in the computing system, wherein the boot configuration data is selectively stored in a storage medium in the computing system, wherein the boot configuration data comprises selectively stored portions of main memory contents; carrying out a second boot up process for the computing system at a point in time subsequent to the first boot up process, wherein as a result of the second boot up process the boot configuration data is retrieved from the storage medium and is written to the main memory, wherein device configuration programming statements that were executed during the first boot up process are not executed during the second boot up process, wherein the second boot up process is faster than the first boot up process.

46. The method of claim 45, wherein data in the main memory is selectively stored in the storage medium based on whether the data in the main memory was altered from a predetermined value during the first boot up process.

47. The method of claim 46, wherein data in the main memory is selectively stored in the storage medium on a memory block by memory block basis.

48. The method of claim 46, wherein data in the main memory is selectively stored in the storage medium on a memory segment by memory segment basis.

49. The method of claim 45, further comprising the step of determining changes in the device configuration programming statements, wherein, in the event of changes in the device configuration programming statements, in a boot up process subsequent to the first boot up process the device configuration programming statements are re-executed and second boot configuration data is written to the main memory in the computing system, wherein the second boot configuration data is stored in the storage medium in the computing system and utilized in a further subsequent boot up process.

50. The method of claim 45, wherein the storage medium comprises a disk drive.

51. The method of claim 45, wherein the boot configuration data is written to the main memory prior to the use of extended memory by an operating system.

52. A method for quickly booting a personal computer system using boot configuration information related to attached devices and to selected areas of computer memory, that was created and saved in a storage medium during a preceding boot process, wherein the method comprises: a) performing an initial process operation to diagnose devices attached to the personal computer system; b) referencing files specifying one or more of the attached devices and executing software to load device drivers into the computer memory and to initialize one or more of the attached devices; c) loading additional files and software to identify and execute any additional programs to be executed prior to initiating normal user operations; d) saving to the storage medium information and selected areas of memory reflecting a status of the attached devices and the additional programs; e) in a subsequent restart operation, checking if the selected areas of memory, and saved device and program information requires updating; and f) if no updating is necessary, loading the saved information into the computer memory and resuming normal personal computer system operations, thereby bypassing execution of steps (b) through (d) above, resulting in a quick booting operation.

53. The method of claim 52, wherein the storage medium comprises a disk drive.

54. The method of claim 52 wherein the saved information is loaded into the computer memory using up to 1 MB of address space.

55. A method for quickly booting a computer system comprised of: a) performing a Power on Self Test (POST) operation; b) executing a bootstrap loader program which prepares the computer system for execution of a graphical operating system; c) writing selected portions of main memory contents and status of attached devices from a main memory to a storage medium location; d) executing the graphical operating system; e) checking during a subsequent boot operation to detect any changes to the computer system that would affect the execution of the bootstrap loader program; f) skipping at least a portion of the execution of the bootstrap loader program during the subsequent boot operation if no changes are detected; g) writing the selected portions of main memory contents and status of attached devices from the storage medium to the main memory and allowing the subsequent boot operation to proceed from that point if no changes are detected that would affect the execution of the bootstrap loader program.

56. The method of claim 55, wherein the storage medium comprises a disk drive.

57. A method for operating a computer system, comprising the steps of: A. performing a power on self test (POST) of basic input output system (BIOS) functions when the computer system is powered on or reset is requested; B. restoring boot configuration information comprised of selectively stored portions of main memory contents and status of attached devices, which was previously stored while executing a previous boot process; and C. loading a graphic user interface (GUI) program.

58. The method of claim 57, wherein the restored boot configuration information is restored prior to the use of extended memory by the graphical user interface (GUI) program.

59. A method for fast booting a computer system, comprising the steps of: A. performing a power on self test (POST) of basic input output system (BIOS) when the computer system is powered on or reset is requested; B. resuming a boot configuration information including a system booting state by using the boot configuration information which was stored while executing a previous normal boot process; C. loading a graphic user interface (GUI) program; and wherein said step B comprises the steps of: determining whether to resume said stored boot configuration information; resuming contents of memory blocks comprising selected portions of main memory contents, addresses of which have been stored while executing a previous normal booting process; and writing zeros into other memory blocks than the resumed memory blocks.

60. A method for supporting fast booting a computer system through storing/resuming a memory status of the computer system, comprising the steps of: checking whether to store a main memory contents status; checking memory contents of a certain unit of the main memory; selectively storing portions of main memory contents written in an area necessary for system operation based on the main memory contents checking result; resuming the stored portions of main memory contents for fast booting; and wherein the storing step stores the contents if a value in a memory block is not ‘0’, and does not store the contents if the value is ‘0’.

61. A method for supporting fast booting a computer system through storing/resuming a memory status of the computer system, comprising the steps of: checking whether to store a main memory contents status; checking memory contents of a certain unit of the main memory; selectively storing portions of main memory contents written in an area necessary for system operation based on the main memory contents checking result; resuming the stored portions of main memory contents for fast booting; and wherein the storing step stores an address of a memory block if a value of a memory block is not ‘0’, and does not store the address if the value is ‘0’.

62. A method for supporting fast booting a computer system through storing/resuming a memory status of the computer system, comprising the steps of: checking whether to store a main memory contents status; checking memory contents of a certain unit of the main memory; selectively storing portions of main memory contents written in an area necessary for system operation based on the main memory contents checking result; resuming the stored portions of the main memory contents for fast booting; and wherein the resuming step resumes pre-stored memory contents of the certain unit of the main memory while writing ‘0’ in a remainder of the certain unit of the main memory.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a method of and apparatus for booting a personal computer system and, more particularly, for quickly booting a computer system, in which a boot configuration information is created and saved in a disk for future boot, and the saved boot configuration information is reused upon the request of the subsequent boot.

2. Description of the Related Art

FIG. 1 shows a block diagram of the system architecture for a conventional personal computer system, comprising a central processing unit (CPU) 1; a read only memory (ROM) 2 for permanent storage of basic input output system (BIOS) and the initial states of internal devices, a random access memory (RAM) 3 for temporary storage of information; a micro computer (MICOM) 4 for controlling peripheral devices such as a keyboard input device, a mouse input device, and a power supply 7; a hard disk (HDD) 8 for providing a secondary information storage; a disk controller 5 for controlling HDD; a video output display 6 for displaying information; and a power supply 7. When power is applied to the computer system, the computer system starts to be booted to load an operating system (OS) and thus is brought into a known useful state in which application programs can be executed. This procedure is generally called “booting”. An operating system is a software that provides resource management on a computer system, including basic tasks such as process execution, memory management, and file management. Examples are MS-DOS, Windows95, OS/2, and UNIX. Execution of user applications is based on these basic functions of the operating system.

The boot process of an IBM PC in which MS-DOS operating system is already installed is as follows. When a user turns the personal computer power switch on or presses a reset button, a power-on self test (POST) is performed by ROM BIOS codes to diagnose each component of the personal computer. Next, a file called MSDOS.SYS is loaded and executed, and another file called IO.SYS is then loaded and executed to perform certain preliminary functions related to management of such peripheral devices as keyboard, disk, and display. And then, a command preprocessor or COMMAND.COM is loaded into a memory that receives, interprets and executes user commands. A file called CONFIG.SYS that specifies devices possibly connected to the personal computer is loaded and ASCII statements contained therein are executed to load device drivers and initialize them. Finally, another ASCII file called AUTOEXEC.BAT is loaded and then programs that are listed therein are executed, thereby preparing the personal computer for use.

There two kinds of boots; “cold boots” and “warm boots”, which rely on the state of the computer system when the boot operation is requested. A “cold boot” is performed when power is applied to the computer or a reset button is pressed. When an operating system is loaded in memory already and the computer system is powered on already, a user may request a “warm boot” by entering a predefined sequence of key strokes, e.g., <Ctrl>+<Alt>+<Del>. The BIOS codes include a plurality of computer routines for controlling devices such as a system clock, video output display 6, disk controller 5, and keyboard and thus provide a low-level interface to these devices. The BIOS is generally stored in a Flash ROM.

Shortly after power on or a reset button is pressed, the CPU begins executing the ROM BIOS codes. The BIOS codes for POST are, first, executed to diagnose and initialize devices attached to the computer system and obtain the status of the devices.

When a “warm boot” is requested or a reset button is pressed, it is desirable that the time required for the boot process is reduced to force the computer into a ready state as quickly as possible. The boot process is usually called “quick boot”, which is achieved by simplifying some device diagnosis processes or loading the device status information that was obtained at the preceding boot time from a storage medium such as disk. Because the quick boot means a boot process in which some POST operations, e.g., memory test are skipped, the quick boot is generally referred to as “quick post”.

FIG. 2 is a flowchart of the quick POST in an IBM personal computer system in which Windows95 is installed according to the conventional art. When the computer system is powered on or a reset button is pressed (S11), the Windows95 is loaded into a memory after execution of a normal POST process (S12). To be specific, once the POST process is performed, ASCII statements in CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT are executed sequentially and WIN.COM is then executed to load Windows95. While Windows 3.1, a previous version of Windows95, is loaded after the personal computer is booted on the basis of MS-DOS, Windows95 installed PC is booted and Windows95 user interface is provided directly.

Once the boot operation is completed, a basic boot information is saved to a disk for future quick POST process (S13). After that, if a user requests a “quick boot” to reboot the personal computer (S14), the above-mentioned quick POST process is performed to reduce the time needed to complete a normal POST process. As another method, the POST process execution is skipped by using a basic boot information that was created and saved in a disk immediately after the preceding POST process is completed.

However, the conventional quick boot relies on the POST process, e.g., the omission of memory test. In other words, in the conventional quick booting method, the same operations as those of normal boot process are still performed after the quick POST process. Therefore, in case where there are a lot of ASCII statements in CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT, the quick boot of the conventional art is not effective to reduction of the boot time.

According to the conventional booting method, in Windows95 installed personal computer system, working environment or all information stored in memory are saved to a disk for the subsequent quick boot. If memory size is larger than 32 MB, the amount of data to be saved to the disk becomes too large. As a result, the subsequent booting by reloading the saved data into the memory may be even slower than a normal boot.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore a primary object of the present invention to provide a method and apparatus that significantly reduces the time required for boot process after a POST operation by using a boot configuration information on memory and the attached devices that were created and saved in a disk in the preceding boot process, and thereby skipping execution of statements in an initial device configuration file and an automatic batch file.

To achieve the object, the present invention provides a method for quickly booting a personal computer system, comprising the steps of performing a POST operation when the system is powered on or a reset button is pressed; checking if a boot configuration information that was created in the preceding boot process exists in a disk; saving the boot configuration information to the disk after execution of a POST operation on the basis of the checking result; and loading a graphic user interface (GUI) program.

The method for quickly booting a computer system according to the present invention is also characterized in that it comprises the steps of performing a POST operation when the system is powered on or a reset button is pressed; restoring a boot configuration information by using the boot configuration information that has been saved in a disk; and loading a GUI program.

According to the quick booting method of the present invention, after ASCII statements listed in an initial device configuration file and an automatic batch file are executed, a boot configuration information that is resident in a memory, i.e., the status of devices and the contents of memory are saved into a disk. After that, when a reboot is requested, a computer system can be booted quickly by using the stored boot configuration information, without execution of the initial device configuration file and the automatic batch run file.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are included to provide a further understanding of the invention, illustrate the preferred embodiment of this invention, and together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the present invention.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is the system architecture of a general personal computer system;

FIG. 2 is a flowchart showing the conventional method for quick POST operation in a Windows95-installed personal computer;

FIG. 3 is a flowchart showing a method for a quick boot according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a flowchart showing a method for saving a boot configuration information after execution of POST operation in a Windows95-installed personal computer according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a flowchart showing a method for restoring a stored boot configuration information in a Windows95-installed personal computer according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a flowchart showing a method for saving the contents of memory into a disk according to an embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 7 is a flowchart showing a method for restoring the contents of memory according to an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The preferred embodiments of the present invention will be described below in detail referring to the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 3 is a flowchart of the quick boot process in an IBM personal computer system according to an embodiment of the present invention. The flow proceeds to step S21, in which a POST operation is performed when a computer system is powered on or a reset button is pressed. A normal boot process of an operating system, e.g., Windows95 is then executed (S22). Next, a boot configuration information, i.e., the contents of memory and the status of the attached devices that was created and has been resident in a memory since execution of the POST operation is saved to a disk (S23). A RAM-resident program is called by a software interrupt (INT in general) in modified ROM BIOS codes so as to save the boot configuration information into a disk for future boots. Since the, when a reboot is requested (S24), the POST operation is performed and then the saved boot configuration information is retrieved from the disk in order to complete the reboot process (S25). If it is determined that either CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT was changed (S26), the changed two files are loaded into a memory and are then executed to form a new boot configuration information, which will be saved to the disk again for the subsequent boot. In this way, if CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT are not changed, they do not need to be loaded and executed when a computer system is booted, resulting in a quick boot.

FIGS. 4 and 5 are flowcharts respectively showing methods for saving and restoring a boot configuration information in a Windows95-installed IBM personal computer according to an embodiment of the present invention.

The method for saving the boot configuration information to a disk will be described now in detail referring to FIG. 4. When power is turned on or a reset button is pressed (S31), a cold boot or warm boot is requested. The POST operation is, first, executed (S32) and then an INT 19h service routine is called to load an operating system (S53). By calling the INT 19h, control is passed to a bootstrap loader which loads the operating system into a memory to prepare the personal computer for use.

Next, CONFIG.SYS is loaded into the memory and statements therein are executed CONFIG.SYS includes ASCII statements describing the size of disk buffer, the number of files that can be opened simultaneously, the names of device drivers needed to control devices attached to the computer system, and so on. After executing CONFIG.SYS, another ASCII file called AUTOEXEC.BAT is loaded into the memory. The file-names of programs that a user wants to run automatically at the boot time are listed therein, and the programs are executed (S34).

Next, a RAM-resident program is activated to replace an original INT 2Fh service routine in the ROM BIOS codes. To do this, the interrupt Vector for INT 2Fh is substituted for the address of the RAM-resident program (S35). Next, WIN.COM is executed to load Windows95 into the memory (S36). The INT 2Fh service routine is called by using software system management interrupt (software SMI) during the execution of WIN.COM. At the interrupt point, the contents of a particular register is sent to the RAM-resident program and then performs a prescribed function associated with the register contents (S37).

If the register contents is a predetermined value, e.g., 1605H, the RAM-resident program checks if there is a file that contains the boot configuration information in a disk (S38) and saves the current boot configuration information to the disk, if not (S39). WIN.COM is then executed to load a GUI program of Windows95 into the memory (S41), providing a user with Windows95 interface (S42). It should be noted that the boot configuration information is saved in the disk immediately before Windows95 loads device drivers into a memory, i.e., an extended memory is used to load GUI program of Windows95.

The operation of saving the boot configuration information to a disk (the step S39 of FIG. 4) is described in detail with reference to a flowchart of FIG. 6. The contents of memory block of a predetermined size are, first, examined and are then saved to the disk if the memory block is satisfied with a predetermined criterion. An address of the memory block is saved to the disk, as well. To be specific, if it is determined that the boot configuration information resident in a memory needs to be saved to the disk (S71), the INT 2Fh service routine checks if a memory segment of 64 KB is filled with ‘0’, while scanning every memory segment (S72). If not, the contents of the memory segment are saved to the disk (S73), together with its address (S74). The memory segment is treated as a memory accessing unit, which is 64 KB in size in the IBM personal computer system. And the boot configuration information to be saved is approximately 7 MB in size, which is composed of 1 MB for saving the software SMI, 4 MB for the video memory, and 2 MB for saving a memory area in which the interrupt vector table and some crucial programs for system management are resided.

The next time the computer system is powered on or reset, the saved boot configuration information is used to boot the computer system. The method for restoring the boot configuration information will be described now in detail referring to FIG. 5.

Once power is turned on or reset button is pressed (S51), a quick POST operation including skip of memory test is executed (S52), and then it is checked whether or not there is any boot configuration information that has been saved to a disk in the preceding boot process (S52-1). If it is determined that a boot configuration information exists, the operation for its restoration is performed (S53).

The process for restoring the boot configuration information is described in detail referring to a flowchart of FIG. 7. First, it is checked whether or not a current boot configuration has been changed based on the restored boot configuration information. If there is any change in the boot configuration, commands that are usually executed at the boot time, for example, commands for initial setup device configuration are executed and then a newly formed boot configuration information is saved to the disk for future boot. Specifically, when a computer system is resumed, it is checked if the boot configuration information will be restored (S81). If it is determined that the boot configuration information is restored, the contents of memory segments, addresses of which was saved before in the disk, are copied to the memory at their own addresses (S82). Other memory segments than the restored memory segments, become filled with ‘0’ (S83). The reason why the contents of those segments are not restored is that they are set to all ‘0’s during the BIOS POST operation.

Once restoration of the contents of those memory segments is completed, it is checked if CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT was changed (S54). If it is determined that either CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT was changed, the bootstrap loader, the INT 19h service routine is called (S55), and then the both ASCII files are loaded into a memory to execute statements therein (S56). Next, the RAM-resident program is activated to replace the original INT 2Fh service routine (S57).

Next, WIN.COM is executed to load Windows95 into the memory (S58). The INT 2Fh service routine is called through the software SMI during the execution of WIN.COM (S59) and thus the RAM-resident program is executed. The RAM-resident program, first, checks the contents of a particular register and then, if it is matched with a predetermined value, saves the current boot configuration information that is resident in the memory to the disk (S61). The method for saving the contents of memory where the boot configuration information is resided is the same as that shown in FIG. 6. Next, control is passed to WIN.COM again and thus Windows95 GUI is set up (S62), thereby preparing the computer system for use (S63).

The reason why the boot configuration information should be restored before Windows95 loads Windows95-dedicated device drivers is to reduce the amount of data on the disk that must be copied to a memory at the boot time. Because the extended memory has been not used yet at that time, even if the size of total memory is 512 MB, memory of about 7 MB only is saved to and restored from the disk, according to the methods shown in FIGS. 6 and 7. Therefore, the execution of CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT can be skipped by restoring the contents of memory and the status of devices based on the boot configuration information, thereby reducing the boot time significantly.

Though the description hereinbefore may refer to terms commonly used in describing particular computer systems and software, such as IBM personal computer and Windows95 operation system, the concepts equally apply to other systems and software.

The foregoing is provided only for the purpose of illustration and explanation of the preferred embodiments of the present invention, so changes, variations and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.