EFI booting: Why?

TheGrantFitz

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I was wondering, what is the reason for Windows 8 using a EFI boot? BIOS seemed more handy and gave me more options, but I wasn't sure why Windows switched.
 

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I have not try, but if you can install Windows 8 on an OLD p4, they are probaly ( a legal) way to install it in BIOS mode , I will go ask someone about it
 

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TheGrantFitz

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I have not try, but if you can install Windows 8 on an OLD p4, they are probaly ( a legal) way to install it in BIOS mode , I will go ask someone about it
EFI gets on my nerves, like if 8 is broken and I cannot boot from something else, gives me the chills.
 

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Kat

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I fail to see one SINGLE benefit to end-users of this UEFI rubbish.

It seems to be TOTALLY designed to lock us out of our own machines.

I really don't want it anywhere NEAR mine.
 

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SIW2

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LOL. If you ask those who are promoting - they will give a big list of alleged benefits.

It has been around a long while. If those alleged benefits are so marvellous,you might wonder why more than 12 years passed before anyone bothered to start using it .

The answer is that large drives over 2tib have only appeared recently. If you are using windows - you need 64 bit version and EFI to boot from drives of that size.

If you do not have an enormous drive - or you do not want to boot from it - then no need for EFI.

MS like it because they can implement the secure boot thing - of dubious benefit to the customer.
 

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snooker

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I think I read somewhere its there way to fight illegal OS software from being installed . Were you can't use the same oem keys over and over again . this way now it gets tied to the one system alone . Which will stop illegal OS from being install .. I could be wrong but I think that's why.
 

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cluberti

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Well, faster booting, faster network configuration, native support for large drives, better design to handle higher-end video chipsets, and yes, more security (if you want it - can always disable that). Booting a system from a BIOS requires the host OS (whichever it is) to do a LOT of device handling, memory manipulation, and other things just to boot properly and make sure everything works and is mapped out properly. Also, a UEFI system abstracts most of the hardware from the OS, so a driver or OS developer no longer needs to know all the ins and outs of how certain things work at a firmware level, and can target code at the device level. This makes OS code and driver code that speak directly to hardware potentially smaller and more efficient, and lets the UEFI OS (yes, it is an OS) underneath the booted OS handle hardware and driver interaction at that level, making things faster.

BIOS isn't bad, per se, but UEFI is certainly better from a system design and performance standpoint, not to mention supporting the future of devices - BIOS is limited to 1MB for it's ROM, meaning it does sort of hold hardware design back. Having a UEFI (64bit) boot environment allows such faster booting and security to occur, and gives more headroom for hardware designs that will be coming forward in the future to move off of designs that currently rely on BIOS extensions to "make things work" in BIOS land, where they could be rewritten to use the native UEFI OS capabilities instead.

Once your OS is up, other than some performance gains, you probably won't notice as an end user. However, if you're a developer that deals with hardware, your life gets a bit better and potentially easier. Also, if you're supporting things in IT, you now have the ability to be more secure and functional (think Intel V-Pro as well) versus BIOS systems.

Microsoft initially switched to supporting UEFI boot in Vista (x64) for these reasons, and it's why Win7 and Win8 platforms (including Server 2008, 2008R2, and Server 2012) also have this support. Getting native support for 2TB+ drives and removing the 4 primary partition limits on disks is nice too, but it's hardly the primary reason. UEFI systems also allow antivirus and other such security pieces to be loaded down in the UEFI OS level (which is coming from Intel, very soon) that OS security subsystems can tie into to provide security in that way as well.
 

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Mystere

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There's a lot of misinformation out there about UEFI/EFI. Yes, it's true that if you buy a computer system that has UEFI, then the manufacturer can lock you out from changing the OS. However, that only applies to systems that come with the OS installed, and more importantly so far, has only been used with ARM based devices.

I have not heard of a single OEM that has enabled secure boot (the thing that can lock you out) in any non-ARM based device or computer. This means UEFI, for the most part is no different from the BIOS in this regard for the vast majority of people. If you're buying a desktop computer with UEFI, then you don't need to worry about that. If you're buying an ARM tablet... well, no other choice but to live with it at this point in time. I'm sure secure boot will be bypassed, as almost all devices have been.

If you build your own computer, then you are in complete control over how the UEFI is configured. If you want to enable secure boot, you can, but YOU control the password.

Secure boot is only part of what UEFI does though. There are a bunch of other features. BIOS is going the way of the dodo, largely because it's limited in what it can do because it's still based on the old 16 bit architecture. There's no such thing as a 32 bit BIOS. Plus, BIOS requires things like the slow POST (Power on self test) and slow device enumeration processes.


  1. UEFI boots a lot faster, because the POST has been streamlined and the device enumeration is significantly faster.
  2. UEFI can be 32 bit or 64 bit. UEFI can boot from drives larger than 2TB (BIOS can't).
  3. UEFI supports features like network support, so you can remotely configure it without having to be at a keyboard (great for servers).
  4. UEFI supports secure boot, to prevent people with physical access to your computer from altering it. Combined with Drive encryption, this makes your system a lot more secure if you are paranoid. It also makes it far less likely for a virus to take over your boot process.
  5. UEFI provides a much richer BIOS management UI, graphical and more OS-like.
  6. BIOS requires an MBR, which is limited to 4 primary partitions. UEFI has no such limitations.

What it all boils down to is that BIOS is just too limited. Fear mongers about UEFI tell all kinds of tales, but the fact of the matter is that most of those fears only apply to a certain subset of computer use, and if you build your own there is no chance of any of them applying to you. If you buy then stick only to vendors that don't lock you out, which so far has not happened in Desktop PC's.

Here's a really good article that pretty much addresses all of your questions.

The 30-year-long Reign of BIOS is Over: Why UEFI W... - Input Output
 
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SIW2

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There you go.

If something is being promoted at you - it is because it benefits those who are promoting it.

In some cases , there might be some small benefit to the consumer as well - that is coincidental.

It is not a coincidence that efi was ignored until the appearance of these large drives.

It wasn't promoted very heavily for a long while - that is because nobody saw any any commercial gain from promoting it.

Now they do.

BIOS has been around for a very long while on billions of machines. That is because it works well - and it is well understood.
 

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Nice post Mystere

I have not heard of a single OEM that has enabled secure boot (the thing that can lock you out)

because MS get back on their first idea when peoples started to use the word anti-trust


I think I read somewhere its there way to fight illegal OS software from being installed . Were you can't use the same oem keys over and over again . this way now it gets tied to the one system alone . Which will stop illegal OS from being install .. I could be wrong but I think that's why.

You part right, like I said MS get back on this idea, Microsoft was including Linux in their illegal OS
 

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SIW2

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Yes, the original proposal from MS on oem licensing created such a stink - they had to change it.

I think they knew that would happen. MS weren't expecting to get away with something so blatant. It was a double bluff.
 

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Coke Robot

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BIOS has been around for a very long while on billions of machines. That is because it works well - and it is well understood.

Yeah, because my dad, my friends and their parents know the intricacies of what AHCI Boot and IDE mode and Boot order and Northbridge are....
 

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Coke Robot

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I don't understand why there is resistance against UEFI? It's like if anything is new and different, first thing is to list a few reasons why it's awful and no one is going to use it and it's just an effort to lock things out.

Good grief.

It's there for booting off of hard drives larger than 2.5 TB, it's LOADS faster, handles things better, like a few others have said already. Not being able to boot in Safe Mode after BIOS is only a bad thing if you're a tech head and you boot into Safe Mode every week. For the rest of the Windows using world, not a lot know what Safe Mode is let alone what it is used for and does. That's the tradeoff for faster boot times.

I was playing with Vizio's ultrabook the other day and restarted it to show off to my friend what a SSD can do, I totally forgot and realized the eight seconds of boot time didn't even show a BIOS screen. Even in some laptops like from Toshiba have the option to for quick BIOS booting to the point where you don't see anything happen except for the Windows boot screen. Is that a bad thing, being able to boot faster, using extobytes of hard drive storage, use your mouse to navigate around, and secure booting (for example since Intel bought McAfee their software will be able to load right then and there at the chipset level)?

Good riddance to BIOS, I'm don't use DOS and therefore don't want to use something that looks like it came from the loins of the DOS age.
 

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cluberti

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Horse and buggies were around for a very long time too. I certainly long for the day when a trip from the Missouri river to Oregon took months, you had to worry about cholera, attacks by indigenous Indians, the weather, and fording major rivers and crossing high elevations and passes in the mountains of the west with livestock and wagons. Those were the good old days.
 

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Mystere

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I don't understand why there is resistance against UEFI? It's like if anything is new and different, first thing is to list a few reasons why it's awful and no one is going to use it and it's just an effort to lock things out.

Because, Richard Stallman wrote a scare piece a few years back about the "Trusted Computing Platform", which includes EFI and secure boot, and warned everyone that Microsoft was coming to take their computers away from them.

It's the same reason people have been raging against the DRM. It's true that DRM when applied to music and books and such is bad, but there are good uses of DRM (like protecting your own files from being read by those you don't want to read them, and protecting sensitive information like credit card numbers and health records from prying eyes).

These groups of people are part of the "Tossing the baby out with the bathwater" party. If something could possibly be used badly, then they demand it doesn't exist at all.

This is the same group of people that got uppity about Microsoft's XML document standard (claiming the world would end if there was more than one ISO document standard.. funny how nothing bad has come of it).

This crap floats around the internet, and people only skim it and draw the conclusions that this or that is bad...
 

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Coke Robot

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Horse and buggies were around for a very long time too. I certainly long for the day when a trip from the Missouri river to Oregon took months, you had to worry about cholera, attacks by indigenous Indians, the weather, and fording major rivers and crossing high elevations and passes in the mountains of the west with livestock and wagons. Those were the good old days.

I remember those cassette walkmans. They were the bees knees!
 

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I remember to use VHS recorder to make back up on Apple II PC , A JVC at the time was $ 1200 more than the price we pay for a Apple II clone ( yes we have clones copy of Apple stuff at the time)
 

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cluberti

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