How to know if I have BIOS or UEFI

As you know, older motherboards came with firmware called BIOS , while newer motherboards come with firmware called UEFI , although many still use the term inertial BIOS to refer to these newer systems. In either case, this firmware is critical for initializing the CPU with known registry values, performing a hardware check during POST, and finding and booting the operating system on the various media.

But, if you are not sure if your computer has BIOS or UEFI, in this tutorial we are going to show you how you can find out in both Windows and Linux operating systems, and even in Mac, as well as other additional methods…

Index of contents

  • How to know if I have BIOS or UEFI by purchase date
  • Check if you are using BIOS or UEFI from Windows
    • with msinfo
    • From a Windows file
  • Check if I have BIOS or UEFI from Linux
  • Check if I have UEFI on Mac
    • If you have a Mac with an Intel processor
    • If you have a Mac with Apple Silicon
    • hackintosh

You may also be interested in:

  • BIOS vs UEFI: what are they and differences

How to know if I have BIOS or UEFI by purchase date

BIOS

UEFI

As you may know, IBM PCs and clones have been using BIOS for decades , until UEFI came along. One of the first to make the change were HP computers equipped with Intel Itanium processors during the mid-90s. They began to implement a system called IBI or Intel Boot Initiative, which would later be renamed EFI.

As you may know, BIOS stands for Basic Input Output System, while UEFI stands for Unified Extensible Firmware Interface.

In 2005 the UEFI Foundation would be created to coordinate and standardize the development of this firmware. It was joined by companies such as Intel, AMD, Apple, Dell, Lenovo and Microsoft, among others, to decide what the future of this system would be.

In 2007, the development of UEFI would begin with new implementations and improvements, among which there was the opportunity to add a GUI (Graphic User Interface) like the one added by many motherboard manufacturers such as ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI, etc., so that you see a more intuitive interface and not the typical one that could be seen in systems with text-based BIOS and which is the one distributed by companies such as AMI, etc.

Many manufacturers of OEM/ODM equipment and motherboards began to include this new firmware in their products, even more so after Microsoft’s announcement that the Secure Boot system integrated into UEFI is an essential requirement to boot Windows 8.x (hereinafter). . That announcement came in 2011, so if you have a PC purchased after that date, you most likely have UEFI and not BIOS.

Today, UEFI has reached beyond the x86 PC world, it is also compatible with other architectures like Arm, RISC-V, Mac, etc., and is present in servers and supercomputers as well.

However, if you thought that everything was as easy as looking at the date, you are wrong, since within UEFI there is also the possibility of working as if it were a BIOS, that is, of returning to the MBR partition table instead of GPT , and without Secure Boot and other UEFI-specific features.

If you have entered the configuration menu of your firmware, surely you have seen options such as BIOS Legacy or CSM ( Compatibility Support Module ) . Well, this is also a way to know what system you are using, since even if you have UEFI, your system could be running in BIOS mode if you have these options enabled…

To access your BIOS/UEFI, you can follow the steps in this tutorial .

But if you do not want to access the BIOS/UEFI to look at this and you prefer to check it in another way , in the following sections we will explain several methods to find out what you are using…

You could also consult the manual of your motherboard or the manufacturer of your equipment. They usually contain information about the BIOS/UEFI version or the configuration of this system…

Check if you are using BIOS or UEFI from Windows

To know what you are using without leaving the Windows operating system, you have the following options:

with msinfo

The steps to follow to check if you have BIOS or UEFI from msinfo32 are:

  1. Press the Win + R key combination.
  2. In the window that appears, type msinfo32 and click Run.
  3. In the window that appears, look inside the System Summary for the BIOS Mode line.
  4. In the value column of this item, two options can appear:
    • Inherited or Legacy: You may have a UEFI, but in inherited or Legacy mode.
    • UEFI: You are working in UEFI mode.

From a Windows file

Another way to know if you have BIOS or UEFI is by following these other steps :

  1. Open your Windows File Explorer.
  2. Then go to the path C:\Windows\Panther.
  3. Inside this folder you should look for the file called setupact.log.
  4. Right click on it and open with. You can use any text editor, such as Notepad. You will need to run it as Administrator.
  5. Inside look for a line called Detected Boot Environment, to see information if you are using BIOS/Legacy or UEFI.

Check if I have BIOS or UEFI from Linux

If you want to do it from the GNU/Linux operating system , in one of your distros, you can follow these steps:

  1. Go to the /sys/firmware/efi directory. You can do it either from the file manager or from the console with the cd command.
  2. Open this file with a text editor of your choice, inside you have the information you need to know if you have BIOS or UEFI.

Another possibility is using the efibootmgr command to get information. For example, you can follow these steps:

  1. Open the terminal.
  2. Run the command:

sudo apt install efibootmgr

  1. Once executed, now run:

s udo efibootmgr

  1. The information you need will appear in the output.

I also recommend you see the best computers with pre-installed Linux that exist .

Check if I have UEFI on Mac

In Apple computers, everything is much more limited , in addition to the fact that the hardware is what it is, without possibilities as diverse as in the PC world. Therefore, although they have EFI on Intel equipment or their own firmware in the case of Apple Silicon, everything is very different. In order to learn more about this system, you can enter directly into it:

If you have a Mac with an Intel processor

If you have a Mac with an Intel processor, then you have EFI on it, it’s that simple. These teams came with this system by default. So you won’t have to do any checking. Of course, remember that in these cases the tables will not generally be GPT, but that Apple has its own system called APM or Apple Partition Map.

If you have a Mac with Apple Silicon

In the event that you have a Mac with an Apple Silicon chip, such as the M1 or M2, or any of their variants, then you should know that this changes with respect to computers based on Intel x86 chips. In these SoCs, the firmware is implemented inside this chip, and it is proprietary from Apple , adapted for this architecture. Therefore, you will not find BIOS, nor EFI, nor UEFI.

Also, Apple has its own Secure Boot system , similar to UEFI.

hackintosh

In the case of being a Hackintosh , of course, you will have BIOS or UEFI, depending on the type of equipment you have used for these configurations… You can simply access the firmware during boot and check it yourself with the steps I showed above

 

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