Microsoft and Intel have teamed up to create an alternative to BIOS (basic input/output system) which is called EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface). Currently, most computers use BIOS to run the computer's hardware before the operating system starts.
The two companies hope that EFI will become an industry standard and Gateway started selling an EFI computer last November. They say EFI will start up computers more quickly. BIOS is seen by many as an outdated model that started in 1982.
EFI allows computers to do diagnostics and virus scans before bootup. Phoenix Technologies, one of the biggest BIOS companies, has plans to replace BIOS with Core Management Environment which is already makes for laptop computers. Source