Bootstrap, or bootstrapping, is a verb that comes from the saying, "to pull oneself up by his bootstraps." The idiom implies a person is self sufficient, not requiring help from others. Similarly, in the computing world, bootstrapping describes a process that automatically loads and executes commands.
The most fundamental form of bootstrapping is the startup process that takes place when you start up a computer. In fact, the term "boot," as in booting up a computer, comes from the word bootstrap. When you turn on or restart a computer, it automatically loads a sequence of commands that initializes the system, checks for hardware, and loads the operating system. This process does not require any user input and is therefore considered a bootstrap process.
While bootstrapping is often associated with the system boot sequence, it can be used by individual applications as well. For example, a program may automatically run a series of commands when opened. These commands may process user settings, check for updates, and load dynamic libraries, such as DLL files. They are considered bootstrap processes because they run automatically as the program is starting up.
Updated: April 14, 2016