When we press the button on the computer, the power-on process begins. Before it starts to load Windows, or the operating system that we use in our computer, it loads the firmware of the motherboard, which is also known as BIOS or UEFI. These are, broadly speaking, those responsible for connecting the hardware with the software, checking that everything works correctly and making the PC start up. However, do we know what kind of firmware our computer uses?
What is a BIOS
BIOS, Basic Input / Output System, is the firmware that began to come on motherboards since 1975. Although it began as a series of instructions for the computer to start working, over time it became more complex so that it could store user data such as boot options, hardware behavior, overclocking, and much more.
The BIOS is the most basic and simple type of firmware that we can find. In addition to its limited options, it basically takes care of POST control and that everything is correct. And since it started to become obsolete (for example, it cannot boot from hard drives larger than 2 TB), a new type of firmware had to be released: UEFI.
What is UEFI
UEFI ( Unified Extensible Firmware Interface ) is roughly an improved BIOS. This system is also loaded before the operating system and is much more complete and intuitive than this. From the UEFI we can also use the mouse to move through all its options, and we can also even be connected to the Internet. Today, UEFIs are almost like complete operating systems.
UEFI systems remove the restrictions and limitations of traditional BIOS systems. For example, this type of motherboard can work with up to 9.4 ZettaBytes (more than 10,000 million Terabytes), a size 3 times greater than what the entire Internet is believed to occupy today. It is also compatible with GPT partition tables, so we can use large hard drives without problems.
This type of firmware also has other advanced features such as, for example, the ability to save the Windows key on the board itself (goodbye to stickers) or Secure Boot, the secure boot that prevents unsigned operating systems from loading without permission. . Also advanced encryption support and many other cool features must-haves to fully exploit the hardware’s potential.
Unfortunately, if your computer has BIOS, you will not be able to change it to a UEFI system. You will have to buy a new motherboard, with this system, and mount the PC on it.
When we are interested in finding out what type of firmware our PC uses
In most cases it will not be necessary to know if our computer uses a BIOS or uses a UEFI system. This, to most users, does not contribute anything. Neither system affects, broadly speaking, the overall functioning of the operating system. However, some advanced users may need to know this information.
For example, when installing a new operating system, or having to repair it, it is necessary to know what platform our PC runs on. The same happens, for example, if we are thinking of overclocking the computer, since it is much easier and more stable to do it from UEFI than from the classic BIOS.
The same happens if we like to have our computer always up to date. New versions of BIOS and UEFI usually correct errors and improve compatibility with all types of PC components. Therefore, if we are going to look for new versions to update them, it is necessary to know what platform we are working on.
Whatever the reason, we are going to explain how we can find out the type of firmware that our PC uses.
Find out if our motherboard uses BIOS or UEFI
There are several ways to find out the type of firmware that our motherboard has. In order not to depend on programs, and to be able to find out as quickly as possible, we are going to use an operating system tool known as “System Information “.
This simple tool will allow us to know, in broad strokes, the hardware information of our computer. For example, we can see information about the system, motherboard, processor, RAM, etc.
To find out the type of firmware our computer uses, all we have to do is type in the address bar “msinfo”. We will run the “System Information” program that will appear and we will allow you a few moments until you finish collecting and processing the information.
Within the “System Summary ” section we will be able to find the information that interests us. Specifically, within the entry ” BIOS Mode”. Here we will be able to see the type of system we use, although it is a classic, or an advanced EFI system.
We already know the type of firmware on our motherboard. Now we are going to find out its date, so that we can easily check if there are new versions that can improve our PC.
View the BIOS or UEFI date of the PC
Taking advantage of the fact that we still have msinfo open, in the “System Summary ” tab we will find other important data. The one that interests us on this occasion, in order to know when the BIOS or UEFI version that we have on our PC was released is the ” BIOS version and date “.
Now that we know the version, the only thing we have to do is go to the manufacturer’s website (which, if we do not know it, we can find this information in the ” Motherboard manufacturer ” section), look for the model (which is in the ” Motherboard Product ” section), and look for a new BIOS or UEFI on the PC.
Which is better?
Today it is difficult to find computers with classic BIOS as before. These systems are now out of date and out of production as not only do they not provide any advantage over UEFIs, but they can also lead to compatibility issues with newer software.
Therefore, if we are going to buy a new computer, we must make sure that it has a UEFI system. These systems are much more modern and simple to configure, so we can have much more control over our PC. Then, additionally, the UEFI) must be compatible with both Secure Boot and Legacy Boot, thus being able to install all types of operating systems without problems.