Intel and Microsoft say it's time to ditch the outmoded BIOS, or basic input/output system, which for 23 years has served to start a PC's hardware before the operating system takes over. The companies say the Extensible Firmware Interface, or EFI, makes it simpler to add improvements to PCs and speeds up the booting process.

Although many agree that the BIOS is out of date, a new technology isn't likely to be adopted until it's declared an industry standard. Intel and Microsoft will push for that, but with PC makers historically resistant to change, EFI is, if anything, likely to exist alongside BIOS for some time.

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