Bare Metal

A bare metal system is a computer that does not include any software. This means the user must install an operating system in order for the hardware to be functional.

The term "bare metal" is commonly used to refer to custom-built PCs and barebones systems. These types of computers are ideal for PC enthusiasts, who may prefer to install their own software rather than paying extra for pre-loaded programs. A bare metal system also allows advanced users to choose a non-mainstream OS, such as a specific Linux distribution.

Web hosting companies may also offer bare metal systems to clients who wish to customize their web server from the ground up. For instance, a client may purchase a dedicated or co-located server with a specific hardware configuration. The server administrator can then install a specific operating system and web server software on the computer.

NOTE: Bare metal is sometimes used to refer to a "bare metal restore," which refers to restoring a complete computer software configuration.

Updated January 8, 2013

Definitions by TechTerms.com

The definition of Bare Metal on this page is an original TechTerms.com definition. If you would like to reference this page or cite this definition, you can use the green citation links above.

The goal of TechTerms.com is to explain computer terminology in a way that is easy to understand. We strive for simplicity and accuracy with every definition we publish. If you have feedback about the Bare Metal definition or would like to suggest a new technical term, please contact us.

Want to learn more tech terms? Subscribe to the daily or weekly newsletter and get featured terms and quizzes delivered to your inbox.

Sign up for the free TechTerms Newsletter

How often would you like to receive an email?

You can unsubscribe or change your frequency setting at any time using the links available in each email.

Questions? Please contact us.