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Unified Extended Firmware Interface support in Windows Vista
Article ID: 930061 - View products that this article applies to.
This article discusses the Microsoft plan to provide support for the Unified Extended Firmware Interface (UEFI) in Windows Vista. This article also provides some background for related technical issues.
Microsoft Windows Server 2003 supports Extended Firmware Interface (EFI) 1.10 on Intel Itanium platforms. Windows Server 2008 supports EFI 1.10 on Intel Itanium platforms, and introduces support to start the computer by using a native UEFI boot on x64 64-bit platforms. Although the initial release of Windows Vista will not include UEFI x64 64-bit support, a later Windows Vista release will support UEFI.
Microsoft determined that vendors would not have any interest in producing native UEFI 32-bit firmware because of the current status of mainstream 64-bit computing and platform costs. Therefore, Microsoft has chosen not to ship support for 32-bit UEFI implementations.
Rigorous testing on a variety of UEFI implementations on a variety of hardware platforms must be performed before Microsoft can provide support for UEFI. As of mid-2006, no firmware vendors had provided production-ready UEFI implementations. When Windows Server 2008 is released, it is expected that enough production-quality UEFI implementations will be available then for Microsoft to work with hardware vendors to test UEFI implementations on a variety of platforms.
Microsoft is working closely with the Unified EFI Forum and industry partners to make sure that it can provide a high-quality, standards-based UEFI solutions. Microsoft has demonstrated Windows support for starting the computer by using a native UEFI boot at industry events such as Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC).
As part of this continuing effort, Microsoft also made "technology preview" code for UEFI boot support available in the Vista Beta 2 release. This technology preview enabled partners to test their UEFI implementations to make production-ready samples available for Microsoft for testing support in Windows. The technology preview code was removed for the Windows Vista release candidates (RC) and final release to manufacturing.
However, support for well-tested UEFI will be made available in a future update to Windows Vista. The supporting code will be present for Windows Server 2008.
To ease the transition from BIOS boot to UEFI boot, we recommend that you design your software carefully so that differences between UEFI and BIOS in the operating system are not noticeable to the end-user
The following items are the most significant UEFI and BIOS boot considerations:
Article ID: 930061 - Last Review: September 6, 2012 - Revision: 2.0