Alternatively referred to as bootstrapping, boot loader, or boot program, a bootstrap loader is a program that resides in the computers EPROM, ROM, or other non-volatile memory that automatically executed by the processor when turning on the computer. The bootstrap loader reads the hard drives boot sector to continue the process of loading the computers operating system. The term boostrap comes from the old phrase "Pull yourself up by your bootstraps."
The boot loader has been replaced in computers that have an Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI). The boot loader is now part of the EFI BIOS.