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UEFI: what it is and what you need to know

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Published on Jun 29, 2017

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Modern PCS and laptops use UEFI instead of old Bios. As the component that replaced, also the UEFI is a low-level software (not firmware) that part when you start your machine and before the operating system is started. The new solution is much more advanced of the previous bios owners, and offers support to the new devices, to the major cuts of memory, reduced boot time and the possibility of using a more intuitive interface, sometimes also works with the mouse.

Many new PCS, despite using UEFI, refer to it by calling it the BIOS, to avoid confusing the old users.

BIOS vs UEFI

BIOS is acronym for Basic Input-Output System (in our language system basic Input-Output). The bios is a software that is stored on a chip on the motherboard, it loads when the computer starts up, takes care of waking up the individual hardware components and make sure that they meet, and after this check starts up the bootloader which is the component that starts your system (Windows, Linux etc)

The BIOS had a essential configuration screen, navigable via keyboard which you could easily access by pressing on the keyboard button at startup of the machine (varied from manufacturer to manufacturer, the most common were Esc, Del, F2 and F10).

The BIOS available on our PC until a few years ago was almost the same component born in the 80's on a PC based on MS-Dos. Then the Bios has had a life of thirty years, in which it evolved, but has retained the severe limitations. One of the biggest developments has been the introduction of the extension for ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface), which allowed a better management of the power and the ability to use the suspension.

The limitations as mentioned were important, the BIOS can boot systems from drives larger than 2.1 TB, which is a problem since now are available fixed disks 3 TB.

The BIOS had to be run in 16-bit mode and had to take a maximum of 1 MB of space, had big problems to start multiple devices simultaneously, and this implied a slow-down in the startup process, which in modern pc could be important.

Intel works with a replacement from the distant 1998, EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface). Apple chose EFI when it started to use Intel processors on its Mac, but the other manufacturers haven't followed.

In 2007, the major producers have agreed and have chosen a new standard UEFI ( Unified Extensible Firmware Interface).

In the first place, UEFI replaces the BIOS on all new motherboards, it is not possible to switch from the old BIOS to the new UEFI on the same motherboard. Instead, most implementations provide BIOS emulation (legacy support) so you can choose to run and install the old operating systems.

UEFI has no problems to boot the system from hard disks up to 9.4 ZB, which is the limit of the addressing of the technology GPT. It is clear that on this front, the standard will not have any problems for many years to come. In addition, the UEFI start the system in a way that is more standardized, loading the executable format in efi from the unit.

The new standard works on both 32-bit and 64-bit, offering more address space, and the possibility to manage the startup and check of components in parallel, making it much faster to boot. In addition, it allows the manufacturers to implement if they want to menu is more complex also manageable with the mouse (most manufacturers have preferred to leave the old interfaces bios like).

UEFI supports Secure Boot, an option implemented to prevent malware, revise or corrompessero the boot sector. Now at every boot you can check the integrity of the EFI partition and restore it in case of problems. Also worth mentioning is the support of the new standard to the configuration via the network, now do not have to be in front of the PC to configure your machine.

UEFI, as you can see, is far more complex than the BIOS that it has replaced, it is in fact a mini operating system. The interface and the implementation varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but now all share the same basic options and comply with a standard.

Our post on UEFI, it is concluded, we hope that has answered your questions. If you have more, don't hesitate to send us a comment.

The article UEFI: what it is and what you need to know appears for the first time on ChimeraRevo - The best face of technology.

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