One of the oldest pieces of computer technology still widely used today is on its way out, to be replaced by a more efficient alternative. The Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) will be succeeded by Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) next year, according to BBC News. Some manufacturers of embedded computers already use the system now but UEFI is expected to become mainstream very soon, claims that MSI voiced in June.

The BIOS is an integral part of any computer since it initializes a machine before the OS takes over. The trouble is that the BIOS has changed little in 25 years, was never designed to with the long term in mind, and thus is one of the main culprits of a slow boot up time.

The original EFI specification was developed by Intel but has since evolved into a general standard from which subsequent UEFI versions were developed. The UEFI forum is a non-profit corporation assuming responsibility for the management and promotion of the specification, with the goal to replace the aging BIOS. For consumers, the biggest advantage of UEFI will be the speed with which a machine starts up.

"At the moment it can be 25-30 seconds of boot time before you see the first bit of OS sign-on," Mark Doran, head of the UEFI Forum, is quoted as saying. "With UEFI we're getting it under a handful of seconds. In terms of boot speed, we're not at instant-on yet but it is already a lot better than conventional BIOS can manage, and we're getting closer to that every day."