The PC that boots in seconds, coming by 2011

Back when Windows Vista was in beta Microsoft were talking about adding support for a new type of BIOS into the operating system, UEFI (also known as EFI) is a replacement for the ageing BIOSes we’ve now been using since 1979, and that were only intended to be used for a few short years.

The BIOS is the reason why PCs take so long to boot as this start-up software, which initializes all the devices in a computer, can take longer to run than the Windows loader itself.

The original PC BIOS is based on one written by IBM and then reverse-engineered by Compaq to produce the first PC clone.  To get around copyright and legal issues with IBM, compaq had two teams working on the BIOS.  The first team reverse engineered the IBM BIOS and wrote up notes about what functions and features they found and what did what.  The second team, who never had access to the reverse-engineered BIOS, wrote a new BIOS from the specifications given to them b the first team.

The Unified Extensible Firmware Interface is the answer to this and it’s not a moment too soon as the advent of devices such as tablets require computers to be able to start up instantly and the public grow weary with long boot times.

The problem with current BIOSes is that they expect the hardware on a PC to be the same as it was with the early PCs.  UEFI frees the computer from being based on original PCs specifying that hardware no longer needs to be connected via a specific port, for instance PS/2.

In an interview with the BBC, Mark Doran the head of the UEFI forum said “At the moment it can be 25-30 seconds of boot time before you see the first bit of OS sign-on.  With UEFI we’re getting it under a handful of seconds.”

“In terms of boot speed, we’re not at instant-on yet but it is already a lot better than conventional Bios can manage, and we’re getting closer to that every day.”

Windows 7 already includes support for EFI BIOSes, which are more robust and secure than the traditional BIOS and that can include features such as anti-virus protection.

The UEFI forum expects to see motherboards supporting UEFI to start appearing in 2011.  By the end of the year they say the bulk of new shipping PCs could be using the new BIOS standard.

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19 Responses to The PC that boots in seconds, coming by 2011

  1. cb October 2, 2010 at 1:53 pm #

    Will we be able to update the BIOS of an existing computer to the new EFI?

    • Anonymous October 2, 2010 at 2:28 pm #

      Nope, the UEFI bios isn’t compatible with the old BIOS, you’d need a new UEFI-equipped motherboard when they start to arrive…

      …which on a personal note is annoying as I’ve just spent £1,500 on a new computer :(

      • rain October 2, 2010 at 8:05 pm #

        add solid state hard drive…

        it will boot in 24 seconds

      • Jannie Kirsten October 3, 2010 at 4:17 am #

        …that’s exactly why we should do our homework before buying new things…besides, you wouldn’t have been able to use your old PC until the end of 2011, now would you?!?

        • rain October 3, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

          well as soon as you buy a computer part it become out of date!!

          that is our industry truth!!

  2. rain October 2, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

    faster porn !!!!!!!!!!!! :P` “drooling ”

    • Anonymous October 2, 2010 at 7:36 pm #

      (cough!)

  3. JimmyFal October 3, 2010 at 11:22 am #

    Can we please get this done before Apple so I don’t have to listen to the tired old innacurate, “we did it first?”

    • rain October 3, 2010 at 1:49 pm #

      hay fall out boy!!

      jimmy fallon is the biggest mac wac around!!!

      i am surprised to hear this out of you..
      !!! lool

    • Ashley Williams October 3, 2010 at 11:37 pm #

      Nope, because Macs have used UEFI for nearly half a decade now. ;)

      • rain October 4, 2010 at 9:10 am #

        rebel efi that is only efi i care about…

        you pay too much for a software..!!!
        also why mac suck.. can not game pay too much and it does simple shit.. with out crashing… !!

        • Ashley Williams October 4, 2010 at 11:17 am #

          Well, I pay the equivalent of a measly $2/day for my quad-core iMac with a 2560×1440 IPS screen, OS X, and 3 years of warranty. It can do everything your Windows-based computer can do (incl. games), and run Unix utilities and OS X applications. So your arguments are complete tosh, I still stand by my Macintosh. ;)

          • rain October 5, 2010 at 7:22 pm #

            who the hell care about big monitor???
            when you site 2 inches a way… ?? 1920×1200 is good enough for most.

            some day mac will come with a screen soo big that will tower over my house… “sticking out of the my house roof imaging that. lol”

            do you see my point???? “soon they will come with 30inch 40inch 1 mile long and so on!!”

            we like to play games and do everything in between..

            don’t care about
            editing photo or edit video all day long …

            i can do that too.. don’t forget… !!!

  4. Kpreston200 October 3, 2010 at 1:40 pm #

    Honestly don’t really care if my PC boots in 2 seconds or 30 seconds.
    I usually put it to sleep and it is on in 2 seconds just by shaking my mouse…Gigity.

    Either way, you can also see this as goodbye to windows loaders because the bioses will be protected.
    Then again, after my growing up around this tech from the get go I have noticed no matter what security is added, it’s ALWAYS defeated by someone just as smart. Usually some old Amiga hacker or really bright German kid.

  5. Robert B October 3, 2010 at 3:29 pm #

    I’ll believe it when I see it

  6. Jarrett Lennon Kaufman October 3, 2010 at 4:32 pm #

    Exactly how many seconds does the average hand hold?

    • Anon October 5, 2010 at 6:44 am #

      Bravo!!! exactly what i was thinking lol

      • rain October 5, 2010 at 9:40 pm #

        it is 10

  7. Danny October 5, 2010 at 8:09 am #

    Interestingly, Macs already use EFI since 2008…

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