Short for Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, UEFI is a specification that defines a more modernized model for the interface between computer operating systems and platform firmware during the boot, or start-up, process.
UEFI originated as the Intel Boot Initiative in the late 1990s before being turned over to the Unified EFI Forum, and today the forum and specification remain the result of a collaborative effort between computer processor manufacturers like AMD and Intel and software operating system companies like Microsoft and Apple.
In many ways, UEFI serves as a software-driven, bare-bones operating system that can sit on top of the legacy BIOS boot process, and like BIOS, UEFI is responsible for initializing the hardware of a device or computer before passing control of the hardware to the operating system. Most newer computer platforms support both UEFI and legacy BIOS booting in order to ease the transition to UEFI and accommodate older operating systems that don't have built-in UEFI support.
The UEFI specification offers advanced features over BIOS such as secure boot, low-level cryptography, network authentication and universal graphics drivers. The Secure Boot functionality in UEFI provides the basis for the Microsoft Secure Boot feature in Windows 8 that enables the OS to detect rootkits and similar malware attacks.
Stay up to date on the latest developments in Internet terminology with a free weekly newsletter from Webopedia. Join to subscribe now.
Webopedia's student apps roundup will help you to better organize your class schedule and stay on top of assignments and homework. Read More »20 Ways to Shorten a URL
If you need to shorten a long URL try this list of 20 free online redirection services. Read More »Top 10 Tech Terms of 2015
The most popular Webopedia definitions of 2015. Read More »
This Webopedia study guide describes the different parts of a computer system and their relations. Read More »Network Fundamentals Study Guide
Networking fundamentals teaches the building blocks of modern network design. Learn different types of networks, concepts, architecture and... Read More »The Five Generations of Computers
Learn about each of the five generations of computers and major technology developments that have led to the current devices that we use today. Read More »