Microsoft will start supporting the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) in Windows Vista and Longhorn Server by the end of next year, the company said at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference in Seattle.
"UEFI support should be present in a subsequent Windows Vista release," Andrew Ritz, a Microsoft development manager for the core platform architecture team, told delegates.
"Think Service Pack 1, something that coincides with, or will be very close to, the launch of Windows Server Longhorn."
Windows Server Longhorn is scheduled for release towards the end of 2007.
UEFI replaces the Bios that has been used for the past 20 years. Both technologies give a computer its first instructions when turned on, and allow an operating system to be loaded.
The technology has an advantage over Bios in that it allows for faster boot times and is available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions, whereas Bios is limited to 16 bits.
UEFI also offers support for rich graphics during boot-up, promising to eliminate text prompts and low quality images.
The technology was originally scheduled to be part of Windows Vista, but Microsoft pulled support for the standard in March because there will be too few systems in the market that support it when Windows Vista ships early next year.
The current Windows Vista Beta 2 supports UEFI to allow developers and device manufacturers to test the technology, but will be stripped out at a later stage.
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