Oct 11, 2011
itay

BIOS gets the Boot

The Microsoft BUILD convention is finally behind us, but with the recent announcement of the new Windows 8 boot process, many developers of 3rd party software and hardware have returned worried.

Microsoft seems to be doing away with the BIOS it has relied on since day one. Instead, Windows 8 PCs will rely on an implementation of UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface), claiming that it is more flexible and programmable than soon to be decedent BIOS. The UEFI will liaise between the Windows 8 operating system and the firmware.

The reason for this change is to prevent hackers using malware, such as rootkits and bootkits, to hijack or disrupt the PCs boot sequence (to reconfigure settings, open backdoors, etc.)

As a security measure, the UEFI is reassuring. However, various reports are claiming in order to maintain the integrity and reliability of this new feature, the new Windows 8 secure boot sequence will be enabled as a default on all client machines; consequentially forcing any software that is loaded during the boot sequence be certified or signed by a trusted certificate authority …or Windows 8 just won’t load it.

Currently, our R&D department is working on the Windows 8 compatible version of Reimage. You will be glad to hear that the UEFI itself, and the new Windows 8 secure boot sequence, will not affect the Reimage scan or repair process in any way.

After enjoying a sneak peak at the Windows 8 Developer’s Release, I can tell you that the UEFI is not the only interesting new feature. Troubleshoot options may include the “Refresh your PC” command. This will allow users to reinstall the operating system in place, without harming user data. However, unlike Reimage, this feature seems to remove any and all applications, without reinstalling them. A similar command, “Reset your PC” will reinstall Windows, effectively wiping all other data clean of the system. This allows users to reset their PC in within a relatively short time, still unimaginable to XP users. However, the long hours spent on reinstalling applications, 3rd party software, and personal data, will remain tedious.

As with Windows Vista and Windows 7, it looks as though Microsoft is keeping the “System Image Recovery” option, and adding an “Automatic Repair” option. So far as we can tell, the “Automatic Repair” option only runs during the boot process and is designed to repair any issues that may prevent the system from completing the boot sequence.

These new features are interesting, but hardly revolutionary. As for the booted boot sequence, I will miss it. I might be bias, old fashioned even, but I feel that the BIOS is somehow part of our heritage.

Stay tuned for more news and updates about Reimage and the new Windows 8 features.

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