What is BIOS and UEFI?

(Last Updated On: July 16, 2023)

What is BIOS and UEFI?

The BIOS or UEFI is a computer’s firmware and forms the interface between the hardware and the operating system. Firmware is a special program (software) that belongs to a specific piece of hardware. The firmware is stored on a memory chip that is built into the hardware. The firmware controls the functions of the hardware. Therefore, it is important to understand that hardware cannot function without appropriate firmware.

The firmware is typically saved in flash memory, EEPROM, EPROM, or ROM.

The BIOS (Basic Input/output System) is the firmware of a PC and forms the interface between the hardware and the operating system. It is located on a memory chip on the mainboard.

The motherboard and is started immediately after the PC has been switched on. The BIOS checks whether the connected hardware is functional, then starts the operating system and makes the PC ready for operation during the boot process.

The existing or connected hardware check is based on POST (Power-On-Self-Test), a computer test to test whether the hardware is functional. The initialization of the hardware follows it. If errors occur, so-called beep codes (signal tones, beeps) are output. Each of which stands for a specific error before being displayed on the monitor using the graphics card after the computer started (booting process).

Each BIOS contains a BIOS menu in which settings can be made and the PC’s performance can be adjusted. Well-known manufacturers of BIOS systems are IBM, ATI, Award / Phoenix, and AMI.

  • The UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) is the successor to the BIOS and takes over its tasks during the boot process.
  • The UEFI is like its own small operating system and, in contrast to the BIOS, has a new, modern and graphical user interface.
  • It supports higher resolutions and is, therefore, more visible and readable on all PCs.
  • Thanks to the new user interface, the UEFI can be operated using the keyboard (like the BIOS) and using the mouse.
  • Not only are the basic drivers available, as in the BIOS, but additional drivers can also be loaded and installed.
  • UEFI is compatible with Linux operating systems.
  • Apple computers have been using UEFI since the OS X operating system was released.
  • Intel as EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) published UEFI. The UEFI was then created for further development and marketing, which Microsoft, AMD, and HP support, among others.

Regularly backing up data is an important point that many users often neglect. Only if the data are backed up regularly can they be restored in the event of damage. Windows has been offering an easy-to-use, system-internal solution for some time now and supports its users with regular reminders that data backups are due.

The UEFI is a bit more comfortable to use, but it is not relevant which type of firmware is used for an average user. Both BIOS and UEFI are powerful tools for adapting settings and functions in the respective operating system.

When a PC starts, the BIOS or UEFI check that all computer parts are working, as they should. They also ensure that the processor receives sufficient power, recognize the hard drives and integrate them into the system, check the built-in RAM and the graphic output, and much more. Nothing works for a PC without BIOS or UEFI – they are the brainstem of every computer.


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