My awkward introduction to EFI.

This simulated command-line prompt shows how I came to know EFI — UEFI to be more precise.

Oh. Lost you already, huh? Let’s back up a bit…

What makes distro-hopping so easy for Linux users is the basic input/output system (BIOS) on built-for-Windows PCs which, among other things, allows the user to boot from an external source via a simple text menu.

Apparently some motherboard manufacturers are replacing BIOS with the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) — like ASUS, who made the one on the custom-built PC I recently purchased. I honestly didn’t even know I had it until a botched Ubuntu upgrade yielded that screen you see above.

You can read this link for a good primer on the key differences between UEFI and BIOS. For me the differences have so far amounted to this:

… An extra 20MB FAT partition on my main hard drive, mounted at ‘/boot/efi’. That, and the ability to change my startup device from the BIOS UEFI menu using my mouse.


Other than that, powering up doesn’t seem any faster. In fact, my system seems a bit less stable overall. Though possibly unrelated, my boot screen is borked and something repeatedly locks up my machine when I attempt to restart it (shutdown is fine).

On the plus side, I’ve gained a bit of knowledge that will hopefully come in handy when my girlfriend finally lets me put Ubuntu on her MacBook. But until that day comes I must confess that the benefits of UEFI are largely lost on me.

Am I missing something here?


  1. I agree with you in that UEFI does create a bunch of new problems. I do like the UEFI boot menu though. No more worrying about overwriting MBR’s and bootloaders.

    Also, on my Lenovo ThinkPad, I had to install kernel 3.0 before all the UEFI quirks were fixed, such as the reboot problems, only 1 core detected, etc. If you use Ubuntu, you can download it from here:

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