The Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) is not a familiar topic to most casual computers users, but those familiar with its history recognize it as one of the PCs worst examples of burdensome legacy code. The days of BIOS are about to come to an end though, as is their weak performance. Microsoft reportedly plans to force adoption of a new PC firmware interface called Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) in 2011.

Microsoft is rumored to be coming out with the successor to Windows 7 next year, dubbed “Windows.NEXT” (Not again … that soon?!?). That successor, like the Windows 7/Windows Vista will support UEFI, but it reportedly will go a step farther, scrapping BIOS support and forcing OEMs like HP and Dell to adopt UEFI.

While UEFI is primarily the work of Intel, the world’s biggest CPU maker, it is Microsoft which largely controls when UEFI mass deployment will become a reality. Motherboard makers will also play a key role, by deploying motherboards with flashed support for the new tech.

The extensible nature of this new interface helps ensure that it will be capable of dealing with whatever new PC expansions hardware makers can dream up in the next three decades.

Between enabling faster boot times and paving an easier path for new hardware, UEFI may greatly enhance users’ PC experience by doing away with a tired three-decade old interface. Even if they don’t know their BIOS from their kernel, that’s something most users should be able to appreciate.

Let’s hope PCs will indeed boot faster …

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