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  1. #1
    iNET Interactive
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    Say goodbye to BIOS — and hello to UEFI!




    TOP STORY

    Say goodbye to BIOS — and hello to UEFI!


    By Woody Leonhard

    If you've ever struggled with your PC's BIOS — or been knee-capped by a rootkit that besets the BIOS — you undoubtedly wondered why this archaic part of every PC wasn't scrapped long ago.
    Well, be of good cheer: Windows 8 will finally pull the PC industry out of the BIOS generation and into a far more capable — and controversial — alternative, the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/top-story/say-goodbye-to-bios-and-hello-to-uefi/ (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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  4. #2
    New Lounger attilathepun's Avatar
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    The article says "If your PC is less than two or three years old, chances are good that it already has UEFI capabilities." How can we tell?

  5. #3
    New Lounger
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    MS has been notorious about saying one thing and doing another. I do not like ANY ONE COMPANY having this much input into what I can or can not do with MY computer. If that is what I wanted I would buy a MAC!

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  7. #4
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    UEFI sounds goofy What it sounds more like is Microsoft getting control over our computers! They are too deep into us already. They will need to OK us moving Windows from an older system! Oh! But they wouldn't do that would they. And how long do you think it will take for the hackers to crack this? They are probably ready for this already. We will go from something that is simple and not controlled by Microsoft to something that no longer is in accordance with the ideals of the KISS method! That's Keep It Simple Stupid! And the UEFI documentation is mostly hidden so that we will have no way to see what's happening. This is goodbye to our computers.

  8. #5
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    The idea that MS will allow a simple method of making your own signature so as to make dual booting easy is laughable. MS has worked long and hard to make sure that manufacturers and retailers toe the MS line and pre install Windows on new hardware whether the customer wants it or not. I can see no reason why MS would not pass up a golden opportunity to lock consumers into having Windows only by using UEFI as an excuse.

    It's my hardware and I choose what to run on it not a software company!

    Before anyone gets the idea I'm anti MS let me say I am typing this on my W7 laptop which is used as a desktop replacement with a second monitor attached. And a brilliant OS it is too...for my home PC use. For travelling I run Xubuntu on my T42 as it is a lot more secure and I also have a 17in Toshiba which came originally loaded with Vista but which I now use to test different flavours of Linux on. Somehow I think this would be a lot more difficult if not impossible with a MS endorsed EUFI installed.

    As for EUFI being more resistant to rootkits? When it lives on the hard drive? Ridiculous!

    It's also a little ironic that this issue of WS has arrived in my mailbox on the day of the anti SOPA blackout. At a time when it is crystal clear to the rest of the world that US government policy is actually dictated by corporations is it any wonder that MS are pushing for their EUFI to become standard on any laptop or PC you might be thinking of buying? How long before not running Windows becomes unpatriotic I wonder?

    I'm in the UK by the way.
    Last edited by xox101; 2012-01-19 at 02:57.

  9. #6
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    This article is wrong in so many ways. Blaming root kits on a systems BIOS is a joke. If you still "puzzle over the BIOS", perhaps you should look for work in a different field.

    The language that you use is highly "charged": BIOS is something you are "forced to invoke" and "cryptic and somewhat enigmatic" with "all sorts of problems". UEFI is described as "far more capable", "more sophisticated" and a "long overdue and welcome improvement".

    Your comparisons read like ad copy, rather than a technical article: "As we all know, the BIOS initialization process — including POST — seems to take a long time. The UEFI, on the other hand, can run quickly."
    "As we all know" - cite a reference
    "seems to take" - not the same as "does take"
    "can run quickly" - not the same as "does run quickly"

    UEFI sounds like a power grab by Microsoft, as if they don't have enough already. We should learn from history - Microsoft took the .ini files of Windows 3 and turned them into the Registry - do you want that to happen to your BIOS? I really don't want MS telling me what OS I can run on my hardware.

  10. #7
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    Very interesting article - perhaps designed to stretch the little grey cells, AKA wet-ware.
    The picture of the UEFI screen shown looks complex, not simple, and I can see no advantage for the user over the 'printed' BIOS interface - what happens behind the screen depends on the programmer. The 'printed' word, for me, is much easier to follow - using the complex graphic interface would lead me to wonder if I had missed something when setting it up - the 'written' screen takes one gently through everything in some semblance of order.
    Progress is not always appropriate - the new back-office functions could be related to the old front end - if it ain't broke don't fix it.
    I don't need great speeds on my machine - I am not into gaming or DTP,so most of the so-called improvements over the years have just increased the complexity without much improving my usage. (I could do good word-processing on my old TI99/4A)

  11. #8
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    @Hermes60, @partner, and others,

    Mac already uses UEFI. My iMac, a 2009 model, uses UEFI. UEFI is not a Microsoft product. It has been in the works for some time as a replacement for BIOS. If interested, you can get more background information here and here.

    Whether or not we like the idea, features, capabilities or potentials of UEFI, it is going to be a part of personal computing.

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  13. #9
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by attilathepun View Post
    The article says "If your PC is less than two or three years old, chances are good that it already has UEFI capabilities." How can we tell?
    My Toshiba Satellite laptop (two years old) says in its user documentation and in its user forums that this model has both BIOS and UEFI features. No graphical UEFI interface, but UEFI does exist. Windows 8 Developer Preview does not seem to be using UEFI on this laptop.
    -- Bob Primak --

  14. #10
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corey View Post
    This article is wrong in so many ways. Blaming root kits on a systems BIOS is a joke. If you still "puzzle over the BIOS", perhaps you should look for work in a different field.

    The language that you use is highly "charged": BIOS is something you are "forced to invoke" and "cryptic and somewhat enigmatic" with "all sorts of problems". UEFI is described as "far more capable", "more sophisticated" and a "long overdue and welcome improvement".

    Your comparisons read like ad copy, rather than a technical article: "As we all know, the BIOS initialization process — including POST — seems to take a long time. The UEFI, on the other hand, can run quickly."
    "As we all know" - cite a reference
    "seems to take" - not the same as "does take"
    "can run quickly" - not the same as "does run quickly"

    UEFI sounds like a power grab by Microsoft, as if they don't have enough already. We should learn from history - Microsoft took the .ini files of Windows 3 and turned them into the Registry - do you want that to happen to your BIOS? I really don't want MS telling me what OS I can run on my hardware.
    Deadeye notes that UEFI is not a Microsoft product. It's in Macs and (I think) even on Android devices. It will run Linux distros which get signed with the Manufacturers, not with Microsoft. Microsoft has gone to great lengths NOT to get into the business of being the arbitrator of what is or is not Signed for UEFI Safe Boot.

    As for booting, the actual, measurable delays introduced by BIOS POST routines are in the range of several seconds to almost a minute (in my experience with several laptop and desktop computers). My Toshiba Satellite boots into Windows 8 about a minute faster than Windows 7, but not for this reason. As I posted above, this laptop does not run Wndows 8 under UEFI startup. Those computers and Tablets which do run Win 8 under UEFI should start up with only minor delays before at least the Lock Screen and its pinned Apps are available for use. That is a noticeable improvement, if you are booting from a cold start. But if the Tablet never shuts down and wakes from Vista Sleep (as most do) you will not get much of an advantage either way.
    -- Bob Primak --

  15. #11
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xox101 View Post
    It's also a little ironic that this issue of WS has arrived in my mailbox on the day of the anti SOPA blackout. At a time when it is crystal clear to the rest of the world that US government policy is actually dictated by corporations is it any wonder that MS are pushing for their EUFI to become standard on any laptop or PC you might be thinking of buying? How long before not running Windows becomes unpatriotic I wonder?

    I'm in the UK by the way.
    Obviously you are not in the USA. SOPA is dead on arrival. Period. Democracy and the power of our free and independent Internet Community have beaten back the Hollywood Moguls resoundingly. Our political system has checks and balances, with the Executive and the Judiciary Branches yet to weigh in on the proposals of our Congress. Our President Obama and his Justice Department have never said they would sign off on the measure, nor the PIPA measure which is dying a slower death in the US Senate. That's the view from this side of the Pond.

    However, as citizens of a democracy, we must remain eternally vigilant against these and other attempts to steal away our freedoms.

    As noted by Deadeye, UEFI is not a Microsoft invention.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2012-01-19 at 05:53.
    -- Bob Primak --

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  17. #12
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    I think of three things about this.

    First @ attilathepun, you can access your UEFI exactly like you may have done for older BIOS, when the computer boots up, watch the bottom of your screen. Usually it will say something like "press del to enter BIOS" or "press F2 to enter BIOS" or sometime I have seen instead of BIOS the words "System Settings". I just worked on a clients computer and it was "press F2 for System Settings" so it will depend on the system

    Second, UEFI is really nice to use. I have an ASUS P8P67 Pro (V3.1) and Windows 7 64-bit loaded on it. It is nice that you can change the order of boot up by just dragging the icons on the bottom of the screen, like the one you depicted. Want the CD rom to boot first, just drag the icon to the far left. Want the hard drive, drag it to the far left. A lot easier than having to use arrow keys to find it, you can just use your mouse to move around. I have done overclocking just by using the three different power performances on the very same screen shot. Want to overclock, use the "Optimal" to get it. No more messing around with voltages, MHz settings, etc. It is very easy, but if you still like the older way, then I have a small gripe. A least on mine, you have to go to the upper right corner and select "Exit/Advanced Mode" to get a new pop up and then you need to select (out of the 3 selections) "Advanced Mode" to get a semi older BIOS method. I wish "Advanced Mode" was a separate button from the "Exit" button. Just a small gripe. There are headers, but you still get to use your mouse. Click on the tab and then use your mouse to make your selections. Pretty nice and easy.

    Third, we have to start being careful when saying "boot up times are slower or faster" or which ever. It does not apply anymore. With this system I have I use an SSD so when the article states that boot times may be longer, it will never apply to myself. I have Windows 7 on that SSD and in 12 seconds I am at my desktop ready to go, from push of power button to desktop; just 12 seconds. So I think we need to start weening off the "delay times" or "boot times" when it comes to boot ups, with SSD's it just does not apply. Or if there is going to be a statement, then when supply data or information about boot ups, the testing must be done using both mechanical hard drives and SSD and then post the data to cover everyone.

    Please do not get me wrong, the article was good. But as SSD's have been on the market, ALL articles need to change as well. I have seen many posts stating slow times and what not, throw in SSD's, everyone is silent because we forget about that. Still though, good article to read.
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  18. #13
    Administrator Woody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by attilathepun View Post
    The article says "If your PC is less than two or three years old, chances are good that it already has UEFI capabilities." How can we tell?
    It's hard to tell, unless you have the specs for your motherboard. Try Googling your motherboard model number and "UEFI".
    Woody

    For Dummies book author, Senior Editor at Windows Secrets Newsletter, Senior Contributing Editor for InfoWorld, and long-suffering Windows victim. Check out the latest at AskWoody.com.

  19. #14
    Administrator Woody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corey View Post
    Blaming root kits on a systems BIOS is a joke.
    Sorry, but that's exactly how rootkits -- almost every rootkit -- works. It usurps the Windows loader, so BIOS calls the rootkit instead of the legitimate loader. That's why signatures for UEFI-run programs are crucial, and how they will make it exceedingly difficult to create rootkits.

    As for the rest of it, hey, you're entitled to your opinion! Come back and post again...
    Woody

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    One question, well maybe one and a half: Will it be possible to dual boot Win 8 and Dos 6x on same desktop? If so, will Autocad R-12c4 (which uses the 386 Parlap dos extender) be able to run on it?

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