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Vista Getting EFI?

Looks like Microsoft might (stress might) be reversing their decision to not have support for EFI in Vista. EFI, the new boot system that is supposed to eventually replace BIOS, was not supposed to be in 32-bit Vista, and not in the first versions of 64-bit Vista. However, now Microsoft is saying that it will ship a preview of EFI support in Vista Beta 2.

From a Microsoft newsletter, reprinted at Bink:

But to date, no production-ready UEFI implementations are available. So Windows teams cannot complete the appropriate testing before Windows Vista is released. By the time Windows Server Longhorn is released, we expect sufficient UEFI implementations to be available for testing with a solid set of manufacturers’ hardware platforms.

Microsoft is working closely with the Unified EFI Forum and industry partners to ensure that we can provide a high-quality, standards-based EFI solution that works across x86 and x64 hardware. As part of this effort, Microsoft is providing a “technology preview” of EFI in the Windows Vista Beta 2 release. This preview will allow our partners to begin testing their UEFI implementations.

To translate: When Microsoft says “x86″, that means EFI on 32-bit system. So that’s one bit of news. Beyond that, even though EFI support won’t be ready when Vista hits stores, a version of it will be ready by the time beta 2 hits. Conceivably, a PC manufacturer could jump the gun, releasing an EFI system that uses the technology preview code.

It would be risky as hell, but Microsoft would probably release an EFI patch for Vista in the end anyway, and that company would have the only Vista EFI system on the market.

Of course, it would probably be a big waste of time. No one is going to buy one PC over another because it has EFI. I’ve never heard anyone ask about the BIOS system before buying a PC, so I don’t think any OEM will go the extra mile. Still, at least we know EFI will be an option in the future, when Microsoft completes the support for it.

April 24th, 2006 Posted by | General, Vista, Windows | no comments

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