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UEFI: The BIOS Replacement

New PCs could start in just seconds, thanks to an update to one of the oldest parts of desktop computers. _49284449_computermotherboard

The upgrade will spell the end for the 25-year-old PC start-up software known as Bios that initialises a machine so its operating system can get going.

The code was not intended to live nearly this long, and adapting it to modern PCs is one reason they take as long as they do to warm up.

Bios’ replacement, known as UEFI, will predominate in new PCs by 2011.

The acronym stands for Unified Extensible Firmware Interface and is designed to be more flexible than its venerable predecessor.

“Conventional Bios is up there with some of the physical pieces of the chip set that have been kicking around the PC since 1979,” said Mark Doran, head of the UEFI Forum, which is overseeing development of the technology.

Mr Doran said the creators of the original Bios only expected it to have a lifetime of about 250,000 machines – a figure that has long been surpassed.

“They are as amazed as anyone else that now it is still alive and well in a lot of systems,” he said. “It was never really designed to be extensible over time.”

AMI is a firm that develops Bios software. Brian Richardson, of AMI’s technical marketing team, said the age of the Bios was starting to hamper development as 64-bit computing became more common and machines mutated beyond basic desktops and laptops.

Read the whole story at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11430069