As any SSD owner can tell you, fast boot times are a wonderful thing! Except for, well, when they're not. Microsoft's been working hard at reducing the boot times in Windows 8 and to hear them tell it, your home screen pops up so fast that there simply isn't enough time to mash on the trusty ol' F2 or F8 if you need to muck around in the BIOS or enter Safe Mode. Rather than shrugging their shoulders and leaving users to press a key in a 200ms window, Microsoft instead created a new "Boot Options" menu.
Few men can lay claim to being ahead of their time like Peter Kleissner. While most of us were busy playing around with the Windows 8 Developer Preview, this Austrian security researcher was vetting it for possible vulnerabilities. Whatever he was up to seems to have worked. Kleissner has successfully identified a vulnerability in this early version of the upcoming operating system and even posted a video of his proof-of-concept “Stoned Lite” bootkit successfully exploiting this flaw. Hit the jump for the video.
Gigabyte has come up with a way to make its UEFI BIOS interface even easier to navigate while simultaneously jumping on the 3D bandwagon, but not in the way you think. In reality, Gigabyte's 3D BIOS technology is a fancy way of navigating your motherboard's BIOS with an isometric graphical view of the board and all of its parts, and it's actually pretty cool.
Gigabyte lead the initial charge with early support for boot drivers bigger than 2.2TB, but while others worked on fixing this with UEFI implementations, they instead kept plugging away on the bios. The company claimed to be using a “HybridEFI”, but let’s be clear here. HybridEFI is a marketing term; it actually has nothing to do with EFI as we know it. When asked about the obvious oversight, Gigabyte claimed they wanted to do it right, and we finally have a chance to see what they have in mind.
At first glance, Microsoft’s decision to go with UEFI instead of BIOS seemed like a decent security-minded step. Microsoft plans on requiring that all PCs shipping with Windows 8 implement the secure boot option included in recent UEFI specifications. That’s good, right? It stops malware from playing around with the boot path and disabling antivirus programs! The smiles faded into looks of concern when it was pointed out that a PC with only OEM and Microsoft secure boot keys couldn’t launch Linux distros. The ‘Net raged, and yesterday, Microsoft responded to the allegation.
Quite frankly, we're a little surprised the BIOS has lasted as long as it has, and so we're not the least bit shocked that MSI is already making preparations to retire the antiquated standard. In its place will be UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface), essentially a modernized bootloader originally developed by Intel and now backed by a number of heavy hitting tech giants, including AMD, American Megatrends, Apple, ARM, Dell, HP, IBM, Lenovo, Microsoft, Phoenix Technologies, and more.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, an MSI spokesperson told THINQ.co.uk that UEFI is literally right around the corner and that the BIOS is not long for this world.
"MSI will start to phase in UEFI starting from the end of this year, and we expect it will be widely adopted after three years," the anonymous MSI tipster revealed.
The spokesperson went on to say that the first new UEFI products will be built around Intel's Sandy Bridge chipset, which will extend from the entry-level on up to the enthusiast sector. These boards will materialize towards the end of the year and into early 2011.
"We won't consider UEFI as an expensive premium feature, but as a must-have for everyone!," the spokesperson added.
Phoenix is working on the latest in BIOS technology and what have they got to show for it? They can boot a Windows 7 computer in less than 10 seconds, and post in just under 1.5 seconds.
The new technology called UEFI has been a long time coming, but it looks to be worth the wait. Steve Jones, chief scientist at Phoenix, showed off the new BIOS at IDF this week. He booted up a Lenovo T400 that made it to the Windows 7 desktop in less than 10 seconds. They also retrofitted a Dell Adamo that got there in under 20 seconds.