Quick boot-up on PCs closer to reality

The Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) has been developed to the point where it could deliver an almost instant-on for PCs and it will be widely incorporated in PCs in 2011, writes David Manners. A number of technologies such as MRAM and hybrid hard disks (NAND + HDD) have been touted as the route

The Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) has been developed to the point where it could deliver an almost instant-on for PCs and it will be widely incorporated in PCs in 2011, writes David Manners.

A number of technologies such as MRAM and hybrid hard disks (NAND + HDD) have been touted as the route to instant-on. None have delivered.

According to the BBC, which quotes Mark Doran, head of the Unified EFI (UEFI) Forum, which is overseeing development of the technology, things have got to the stage where it takes just a few seconds.

"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. 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."

Doran said that one of the problems for boot speed was the inability of the BIOS to quickly recognise the hardware peripherals on modern computers. That's because the BIOS still thinks it's dealing with an early PC. UEFI gets around that problem.

EFI was developed by Intel but its development has been taken over by the UEFI Forum. UEFI is widely used in data centres and in embedded computing and is now coming into PCs, says Doran who reckons 2011 could be the 'tipping point' when UEFI gets into the majority of PCs.

This story first appeared on www.electronicsweekly.co.uk

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