Vista Will Not Support EFI

    March 13, 2006

Microsoft revealed at the Intel Developer Forum on Friday that no 32-bit Windows system would ever support Extensible Firmware Interface, dashing hopes that dual-booting Vista and Mac OS X would be a lot easier.

EFI is the next-generation replacement for the 20-year old BIOS standard, and since it is a major change (for example, device drivers are stored in flash memory instead of being loaded by the OS), Microsoft decided supporting it on 32-bit systems would be far too difficult.

It is a common chicken/egg problem. Microsoft won’t release an EFI OS without an installed base of EFI systems, and system manufacturers won’t build them unless they can install Windows on it. Microsoft has no incentive to promote the adoption of EFI, since it would require a butt-load of changes to the way Windows operates. MS seems just fine with letting BIOS keep on keepin’ on.

However, there is a good chance 64-bit Vista will eventually support EFI, and MS has indicated Longhorn Server should support EFI. However, it is likely that current versions of Intel Macs will never be able to run any consumer version of Windows, since 32-bit versions don’t support EFI as all Macs do, and there are no 64-bit Macs.

Meanwhile, plenty of people have gotten Mac OS X to run on Windows PCs. Is this a blow to Apple? Windows PCs can run OS X, but Mac PCs can’t run Windows natively. Seems like, if I really wanted both, my only option would be a regular Intel system, and not Apple hardware.

(via Memeorandum)

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Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

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