Richardson talk

Intel will drop support for the legacy BIOS technology in its modern client and server chipsets by 2020 when the company said its products would support only UEFI Class 3 or higher.

This news comes right from the horse's mouth, Brian Richardson, a top-ranking Intel engineer, also known as the "BIOS guy."

UEFI Last Mile

According to Richardson, Intel has embarked on what it calls the "UEFI Last Mile," an effort to remove old legacy code from its products and focus on newer technologies like UEFI. This primarily means dropping BIOS.

Speaking at the UEFI Plugfest, a conference held by the UEFI Forum, Richardson cited the top three reasons why Intel is moving away from BIOS (page 10 of his presentation):

⇘ Security risks - BIOS does not support standards for secure boot or signed code execution.
⇘ Backwards compatibility - New technologies will be freed from providing BIOS backward compatibility.
⇘ Complications to code validation - BIOS requires two validation paths (CSM ON & CSM OFF).

BIOS, which stands for Basic Input/Output System, is a firmware package that's included with motherboards and contains the code for hardware initialization and system boot-up operations.

BIOS was launched in 1981 and was replaced in the 90s with UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface), a more generic standard that could work on more PC architectures and wasn't intrinsically tied to the 16-bit mode of Intel x86 processors like BIOS was.

By all means, the new UEFI standard is superior to the old BIOS. It provides faster boot-up speeds, improved security, expanded configuration options, and a universal architecture to support various hardware architectures.

All modern motherboards support one of the UEFI standard iterations, and modern operating systems have long supported UEFI since the early 2000s.

UEFI standard still needs some work

Despite this, many users still chose to configure their computers to boot up using BIOS. The main reasons are the plethora of errors some users receive when enabling UEFI boot-up, which in some cases blocks users from using their computers entirely.

Richardson acknowledged the UEFI usability issues in his presentation and said Intel would be working to resolve these problems and make enabling UEFI a much seamless experience for non-technical users.

Related Articles:

Spectre and Meltdown Hardware Protection Added to Intel's 9th Gen CPUs

The Intel Microcode Boot Loader Protects Older CPUs From Spectre