Intel will stop offering support for PCs operating on legacy BIOS firmware by 2020 as it transitions to Uefi.

The Silicon Valley company has included support for legacy BIOS - Basic Input Output Systems - in its Class 1 and Class 2 versions of UEFI, Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, according to TechRadar. However, Intel plans on making the Class 3 UEFI mandatory and dropping its legacy BIOS support by 2020.

BIOS is stored as firmware in a computer, while UEFI can be stored in a computer’s motherboard, hard drive or network.

The new firmware will also require a 64-bit operating system, and will not be compatible with 32-bit operating systems that are still widely in use.

BIOS and UEFI

Programs like BIOS and UEFI operate at the heart of a computer system, according to ArsTechnica. When a computer is first powered on, the CPU will search for the code in the memory to instigate any action, such as launching the operating system like any version of Windows OS or Mac OS. BIOS and UEFI check whether a computer’s various parts are working correctly and whether they have enough random access memory or RAM available to operate before launching an OS.

BIOS has been in use since its invention back in 1975 for use on all Intel x86 processors. In its earliest years, Intel has had an exclusive patent on the technology which it licensed to competitors. However, other companies reverse-engineered the system to suit their own machines, according to ArsTechnica.

The tech company, Phoenix, successfully reverse-engineered the technology accurately and licensed it out, allowing BIOS to be popularized and widespread.

Increased security

However, the tax software became less crucial as technology advanced, according to ArsTechnica. By 2000, many operating systems only used BIOS to start up.

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Intel developed EFI in 1998 and UEFI in 2005.

UEFI became the most popular system by 2012, according to GCN, when Microsoft first included it with Windows 8 operating systems.

Unlike BIOS, which was created to operate on 16-bit systems, UEFI was created to support 32 and 64-bit systems. By 2011, the majority of PCs were using UEFI rather than BIOS, according to ArsTechnica.

UEFI is preferred because it is faster and more secure than BIOS, according to TechRadar. Today, few programs rely on BIOS and few computers using it are in circulation which means the change will have a limited effect.