The old PC BIOS will very soon be replaced by its efficient alternative UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) that will enable PC's to boot up in seconds. Although few companies started using it, UEFI will predominate in new PCs by 2011.

We all know BIOS, the Basic Input Output System. The BIOS software is basically the firmware that does allow the operating system to interact with your computer's hardware. You might have been noticed while going through BIOS settings, you have to go through a text-and-arrow-key based user interface and navigate through a series of clunky menus. The trouble is that the BIOS we use, designed almost 25 years ago, has not changed much in the past 25 years and is one of the main reasons why a PC's boot-up time is over 25 seconds.

The UEFI specification defines a new model for the interface between personal-computer operating systems and platform firmware. UEFI has a graphical user interface and is designed to work better with modern PC hardware. Mr. Doran, head of the UEFI Forum said that the biggest benefit of a machine running UEFI will be the speed with which it starts up. It will be much easier and faster for input to come from a soft keyboard, gestures on a touchscreen or any future input device.

The original EFI specification was developed by Intel but has now evolved into a standard which is now known as UEFI. The UEFI forum, which is a non-profit corporation, is responsible for the management and promotion of the specification.

Some PC manufactures have already started using UEFI. Lenovo loaded up a ThinkPad T400 laptop with UEFI and demonstrated that the machine can now boot Windows 7 in just over 10 seconds. Lenovo points out, you can configure UEFI in a way that could dramatically improve Windows boot times.

Suggested Readings:-
UEFI Homepage
BBC News