New Windows 8 computers don’t use the traditional BIOS but instead use UEFI firmware like Macs did years ago. How you can perform common system tasks has changed.
If you are curious about why BIOS has been replaced by UEFI, I suggest exploring the UEFI overview and comparing the disparities between UEFI and traditional BIOS.
UEFI (BIOS Replacement Extensible Firmware Interface) is a modern standard created to substitute the conventional BIOS in computer systems. UEFI offers a superior hardware interface, enables enhanced functionalities, and promotes greater compatibility compared to the traditional BIOS.
Some of the significant differences between UEFI and traditional BIOS are as follows:
1. Interface: The traditional BIOS uses a basic and restricted command line interface, whereas UEFI offers an interactive graphical interface for installing and managing operating systems.
Hard drive capacity and support: The BIOS can only boot from hard drives larger than 2TB, whereas UEFI can boot from drives with larger capacities.
Traditional BIOS frequently encounters compatibility problems with new hardware and technical standards like USB 3.0 and PCIe 3.0. UEFI resolves this issue by offering support for new technical standards and achieving enhanced compatibility with modern hardware.
UEFI offers more advanced security features compared to traditional BIOS, such as Secure Boot, encryption, and digital signatures. These features aid in preventing malware attacks and guaranteeing system security.
In brief, the transition from traditional BIOS to UEFI aims to enhance the computer system’s performance, compatibility, and security.
Access preferences right in Windows
With modern computers, there is no need to wait for a few seconds after pressing keys, which can slow down the boot process. You can access the boot menu once you have successfully booted into Windows.
To access this menu, you can follow these steps:
1. Open the Settings bar by dragging from the right and clicking on Settings, or by pressing the Windows + I key combination.
2. Under the Settings bar, select the Power button.
3. Press and hold the Shift key.
4. Click on Restart.
5. Your computer will reboot and you will be taken to the boot menu.
Note: If you are using Windows 10, you can access the Power option from the Start menu by holding down the SHIFT key and tapping Restart.
Access low-level UEFI settings
To access UEFI settings, follow these steps: click on the “Troubleshoot” option, select “Advanced Options”, and then click on “UEFI Firmware Settings”.
After that, you should click on the “Reboot” option. This will cause your computer to restart and show the UEFI firmware installation screen.
Different computers offer varying options. For instance, Microsoft’s Surface Pro computer provides only a limited number of options, whereas a traditional desktop computer may offer a wider range of choices.
UEFI is employed for modern computers. If you are utilizing an outdated computer running Windows 8 or 10 installed with a BIOS system rather than UEFI, the option to access UEFI Firmware Settings will not be available. You will need to access the BIOS in the same manner as you did previously.
Please note that not all UEFI-enabled PCs will have this boot menu available. On certain UEFI computers, you may need to access the UEFI settings screen using a different method. If you cannot find an install button here, please refer to your computer’s documentation for further instructions.
The UEFI settings screen provides an option to deactivate the Secure Boot feature, which is a valuable security measure designed to safeguard against malicious software attacks on the installed Windows or other operating systems. Nonetheless, this action renders it impossible to boot and install other operating systems such as Linux and older versions of Windows like Windows 7.
You can turn off Secure Boot mode by accessing the UEFI settings screen on a computer running Windows 8 or 10. While this may result in a loss of some security advantages provided by Secure Boot, it allows you to boot the desired operating system.
Boot from an external storage device
To boot a computer from a USB device on the Linux operating system, one needs to access the boot menu. In this menu, you can choose the Boot Device item and select the desired USB device. The available options may vary depending on the computer’s hardware, including USB drives, CD/DVD drives, SD memory cards, network boot, and other options.
Many computers are equipped with UEFI firmware systems, which offer the option to enable BIOS compatibility mode. When this mode is activated, the UEFI firmware functions similarly to a conventional BIOS. This feature enhances compatibility with older operating systems, including Windows 7, which were not originally designed to work with UEFI.
If your computer has this feature, locate it in the UEFI settings screen and activate it if required.
Change system time
In general, the BIOS includes a clock that shows the current time and enables the user to modify it through the BIOS setup screen. In computers with UEFI, a similar clock is present but there are no options available in the UEFI setup screen to modify the time. Nevertheless, this aspect is not of significant importance as adjusting the time within the operating system will automatically update the system’s time as well.
Hardware information access
On the UEFI settings screen, there may or may not be displayed information about the computer’s hardware and temperature. In case it is not visible, you can still access this information by using third-party system information viewing applications like Speccy.
Change hardware settings
The BIOS usually offers a range of options to modify the hardware of the system. These options include overclocking the CPU by adjusting the multiplier and voltage settings, tweaking RAM timings, configuring graphics memory, and changing other hardware settings. However, the availability of these options may vary in the UEFI firmware of different devices. For instance, tablets, convertibles, and laptops typically do not have these settings. On the other hand, desktop motherboards that are specifically designed for customization may have these options accessible in the UEFI settings screen.
While the methods of accessing UEFI and booting from external storage devices differ between UEFI and BIOS, the overall difference is not significant. Tablets and convertible computers with UEFI firmware offer fewer options compared to desktop computers, similar to how regular laptops have fewer options with BIOS.