Oh No!- Where’s my BIOS Anyway? And What’s UEFI?
Ha! The first time I ran into UEFI, I was frantic to know exactly where my BIOS had gone to. It definitely took me a while to figure it out!
(UEFI)= Unified Extensible Firmware Interface- truly a mouthful and
(BIOS)= Basic Input-Output System are basically two firmware interfaces for computers. So you don’t feel instantly overwhelmed firmware is simply permanent software programmed into a read-only memory.
Most Windows 8 computers have UEFI. BIOS has been around ever since the beginning of computers, all the way back to the time of 16-bit modes.
BIOS boots by reading the first sector of a hard disk drive, and then initializes its execution. Then the boot sector locates and runs an additional code. Another thing that BIOS also allows you to do is to select a boot device including DVDs and USB devices.
On the other hand, UEFI boots differently. UEFI stores all information regarding initialization and startup into an EFI program file (with .efi as its filename extension) instead of the firmware.
What are the main benefits to the user who is booting with UEFI instead of BIOS?
UEFI enhances the boot time and general speed of the computer so your computer boots way faster. No matter how large your hard drive is, a good UEFI configuration usually performs better during initialization of the hardware devices.
UEFI allows firmware to use a security policy about what boots. This means that by default in Windows 8 UEFI will only boot into the approved boot sector. It allows only authentic drivers and services to load during boot time, so for now, at least, it ensures that no malware can be loaded onto the computer during startup. UEFI has an enhanced password protection ability in form of digital “signature”. Boot loaders are prompted to provide a digital sign, and then a series of kernel signings and so forth. This goes on until the operating system is completely started. A UEFI password can make all this even more secure.
Unlike BIOS, UEFI can boot a hard disk drive of unlimited size and multiple partitions can be created as well. BIOS is limited to two terrabytes and four major partitions.
Because UEFI also removes the legacy BIOS ROM (Read-only memory) allocations, you are much less likely to get error messages about your PCI express cards and other hardware devices.
All this does not exclude setting up more than one operating system through UEFI, so all you Linux and W7 fans are fine.
A personal note- once I got over my initial shock of frantically trying to find my BIOS, I discovered I really liked UEFI. It boots in well under a minute and still allows me to control boot order, etc.
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