16 Differences Between EFI and BIOS

The two words EFI and BIOS may be completely unknown to you if you are new or just an average user of a computer system without much knowledge about the technicalities behind it or the hardware and software related to it.

Quite naturally you will wonder what these words really mean and how these are different from each other when you come across them.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The Basic Input Output System actually refers to the software but Extensible Firmware Interface is a new standard of BIOS that comes with additional and more useful features that makes it faster and a better performer in comparison.
  • EFI uses both the 32 bit and 64 bit mode but BIOS uses 16 bit mode only. This helps it to increase its performance and also makes it the interface for the future offering hard drive back up support, more mouse control, driver creation and web browsing abilities.
  • It is very easy for the users to manage EFI due to its Graphical User Interface rather than the text-only interface of BIOS. The hardware and firmware support along with a more modern and commonly used C language of it also makes it more adaptable than BIOS.
  • It is very easy to upgrade the firmware of EFI and it also supports new peripherals, which is not allowed by BIOS. It takes much less time to startup a computer system in comparison to the BIOS due to such support.

The 16 Differences Between EFI and BIOS

Differences Between EFI and BIOS

1. Full Forms

EFI is the acronym for Extensible Firmware Interface but, on the other hand, BIOS is the acronym for Basic Input Output System.

2. What it is

EFI is the new standard of BIOS developed by Intel and released with IA-64 that helps in the booting process.

On the other hand, in comparison, BIOS represents the software that is typically built in the computer system which also helps in the booting process. Ideally, the first software that runs when you turn on your computer system is the BIOS rather than the EFI.

3. Driver Creation

Using EFI will allow a user to create drivers because it has got rid of the boot loader. Typically, these drivers cannot be reverse engineered.

The BIOS, on the other hand, does not offer this specific benefit to the users.

4. Supporting Features

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The features included in the EFI will offer support for mouse control, visiting the internet, backing up the hard drive, and installing drivers.

In comparison, the BIOS does not offer such support.

5. Interface

EFI comes with a Graphics User Interface or GUI which makes it more user friendly but, in comparison, the BIOS comes with only a text interface.

6. Language Support

The EFI can support multiple languages in its user interface. On the other hand, when compared, the BIOS has only one.

7. Performs as

The EFI is designed in two modular forms to perform both as a system software manager as well as a modular-2-firmware manager, much unlike the BIOS.

8. Startup Time

The EFI takes much less time during startup in comparison to the time taken by BIOS to startup a computer system when it is switched on.

9. Computer Language

Extensible Firmware Interface is written in the common and more modern C computer language while in comparison, the computer language of BIOS is ASM or Assembly language which is much older.

10. Bit Mode

The EFI is designed and available in both 32 bit and 64 bit modes. On the other hand, BIOS is designed only in 16 bit mode.

11. Accessibility of System Hardware Models

It is the EFI that offers accessibility to the system hardware models and allows the users to browse the web or surf the internet without needing to access the upper operating systems.

In comparison, the BIOS does not offer such accessibility.

12. Fault Tolerance

EFI has a much better fault tolerance level as compared with BIOS and also comes with error correction features.

On the other hand, the BIOS does not have such high fault tolerance or EC features, both of which affect its performance negatively.

13. Performance Level

The improvements made in the EFI along with the new features included in it make it a much better performer in comparison to the BIOS.

On the other hand, the BIOS is a significantly lower performer in comparison to the EFI due to the absence of these useful features in it.

14. Upgradability

The firmware of EFI can be upgraded but, in comparison, the BIOS does not allow this benefit.

15. New Peripheral Support

The EFI supports new peripherals which makes it more useful in comparison to the BIOS which does not offers such support.

16. Ease of Use

The EFI is more convenient and easier for the users to use because it is more adaptable to the hardware and firmware due to the modern language used in its design and its error correction support and higher fault tolerance.

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In comparison, BIOS is quite difficult to manage.

Which is More Useful – EFI or BIOS?

Both EFI and BIOS are actually a firmware interface and help in the initial startup of the computer system but it is the EFI that is more preferred by the users.

There are lots of reasons for it as you may have already guessed going through the differences between them.

Though the EFI does the same job as the BIOS, the EFI stores all the data necessary for the initialization process and startup safely but not on the firmware.

It has a separate .efi file for that and this particular file is stored on the hard disk in a special partition called ESP or Extensible Firmware Interface System Partition.

The EFI also comes with a lot of improvements made in it along with newer and better features added to it, in comparison to the BIOS.

This singular aspect gives it a significant edge over the BIOS. One of the most significant changes is the exclusion of boot loaders from it.

The EFI can be considered very much the same as any other low-end operating system that helps in the booting process as well as can control all of the different hardware resources.

Some of the features included in the EFI which makes it a better performer in comparison to BIOS include:

  • The mouse control support
  • Hard drive backup
  • Driver Installation and others.

The interface of EFI is also much better and more useful and convenient for the users being a GUI rather than a text-only interface as it is in BIOS.

Such Graphics User interface is however included by the Original Equipment Manufacturers OEM in the graphics BIOS only but the functions are reduced by a significant margin.

The multiple language support offered by the EFI is a significant improvement that helps the users by a great extent to manage the interface, especially those particular users whose mother tongue is not English.

This puts it a step ahead of the BIOS and is also a significant reason for its preference all over the world.

The two models of the design, the faster performance during startup of a computer system, and the fact that the firmware of EFI can be upgraded and its support for new peripherals also adds to its utility making it better than BIOS.

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In fact, it is the modular design of the EFI that enables it to perform both as a firmware manager as well as a system software manager along with the higher fault tolerance level and error correction support make it even a better performer while playing this dual role.

The modern and commonly used computer language used in the EFI makes it more adaptable to the hardware as well as the firmware.

This feature along with its support for error correction and higher fault tolerance makes it easier to work with.

These features of the EFI allows the computer to quickly detect the errors and the diagnoses can be done quickly and easily.

And, since EFI uses both the 32 bit mode and 64 bit mode unlike BIOS that uses 16 bit mode only, it gives the users a feeling that in the foreseeable future it will also be using the superior processor mode.

This will improve the performance of EFI even further.

Therefore, in short, the EFI allows the users to do a lot of things that are not possible to do while using BIOS, and, in spite of that, things are much faster than BIOS.

In fact, all these facts, along with all of the differences mentioned above, makes the Extensible Firmware Interface a much better and more useful aspect of a computer system for the users as compared to the Basic Input Output System.

Conclusion

The facts and information provided by this article has now surely made you more knowledgeable than before about the Extensible Firmware Interface and Basic Input Output System.

With such knowledge you should now be able to make a decision more quickly and conveniently whether to choose EFI or stick to BIOS.

About Dominic Cooper

Dominic CooperDominic Cooper, a TTU graduate is a computer hardware expert. His only passion is to find out the nitty gritty of all computers. He loves to cook when he is not busy with writing, computer testing and research. He is not very fond of social media. Follow Him at Linkedin