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Old 07-04-2014, 05:28 PM   #1
maja_ldm
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identifying computer's firmware in ASUS N53SV


I plan to install Slackware and have it boot with GRUB (while keeping a Windows virtual machine inside of it).
I'm still sketching out how to proceed and I'm having an hard time understanding if my laptop runs on a UEFI firmware..

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These are a few images I took, as you can see the firmware is supposed to allow the user to enable or disable an "UEFI boot" mode and I can enable it and boot into Windows 7 flawlessly, even if the hard disk has an MBR partition table.

While looking around I read "in MBR disks Windows only runs on top of BIOS firmware", so is my computer's firmware effectively running on a UEFI firmware or not?

How can I know if I have to setup Slackware for UEFI or BIOS boot up?
 
Old 07-04-2014, 07:01 PM   #2
notsure
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While the UEFI boot is enabled, press F8 while the system POSTs to get the boot menu. You'll see UEFI options for your drives.

When you install Slack, you will want to select the UEFI option to get started.
 
Old 07-04-2014, 07:18 PM   #3
exvor
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If your system using MBR then your not using EFI to boot. Rathere your UEFI bios is using some compatiblity stuff to allow bios boot time services. UEFI boot requires GPT parttion table along with a EFI parttion to find the image to boot from. So i guess its YES you are using UEFI firmware persay but you do not have access to the UEFI runtime services. Its also possible that your computer has dual bios and UEFI and it tries to find the EFI parttion and when it cant then reverts to BIOS. You would have to check with the hardware vendor to know for sure.
 
Old 07-04-2014, 08:05 PM   #4
metaschima
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No, your computer does NOT support UEFI, it just has a regular BIOS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by exvor View Post
If your system using MBR then your not using EFI to boot. Rathere your UEFI bios is using some compatiblity stuff to allow bios boot time services. UEFI boot requires GPT parttion table along with a EFI parttion to find the image to boot from. So i guess its YES you are using UEFI firmware persay but you do not have access to the UEFI runtime services. Its also possible that your computer has dual bios and UEFI and it tries to find the EFI parttion and when it cant then reverts to BIOS. You would have to check with the hardware vendor to know for sure.
A dual BIOS is where there is a separate copy of the BIOS for backup purposes only, e.g. if one becomes corrupted, the working copy is used.

Last edited by metaschima; 07-04-2014 at 08:07 PM.
 
Old 07-05-2014, 03:02 PM   #5
maja_ldm
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@notsure, I'm not sure what kind of options I should see, if I enable "UEFI mode" in Aptio setup utility my computer loads GRUB as usual, after selecting Windows 7 it loads Windows' recovery mode selection screen, but it's the same Windows recovery mode screen I can get with the "UEFI mode" option turned off.

@exver, @metaschima, I guess exvor was making the hipotesis that the laptop I'm using have both BIOS and UEFI and since the hard disk is partitioned with MBR it falls back to BIOS after trying to boot in UEFI. I don't have the slightest idea if this is possible, but AMI webpage for Aptio does indeed present the product as some kind of "middle ground" between BIOS and UEFI (http://ami.com/Products/BIOSandEFIFirmware/Aptio/) but I don't know how ASUS decided to set up the utility.. I didn't ask their support yet either.



Does anyone know a way to check which kind of firmware is being used from inside an OS? I have access to Windows 7, Linux Debian and any live cd which works with Intel's Optimus Cards (Ubuntu, Linux Mint.. ).


Meanwhile I'll try to find anything related to this model in the forums and check the ASUS forums and support service..
 
Old 07-05-2014, 04:10 PM   #6
metaschima
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It looks like the BIOS has some UEFI functionality, but I'm not convinced it is actually UEFI firmware. You can run 'dmidecode' to get some info on the BIOS.
 
Old 07-06-2014, 08:35 AM   #7
maja_ldm
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I ran dmidecode in Debian Linux and WIndows 7, I can't find anything that I can relate to efi/uefi.

What would I be looking for?


These are the complete logs:

dmidecode.linux.log

dmidecode.windows.log


This is the first handle:
Quote:
Handle 0x0000, DMI type 0, 24 bytes
BIOS Information
Vendor: American Megatrends Inc.
Version: N53SV.215
Release Date: 01/09/2012
Address: 0xF0000
Runtime Size: 64 kB
ROM Size: 2560 kB
Characteristics:
PCI is supported
BIOS is upgradeable
BIOS shadowing is allowed
Boot from CD is supported
Selectable boot is supported
EDD is supported
5.25"/1.2 MB floppy services are supported (int 13h)
3.5"/720 kB floppy services are supported (int 13h)
3.5"/2.88 MB floppy services are supported (int 13h)
Print screen service is supported (int 5h)
8042 keyboard services are supported (int 9h)
Serial services are supported (int 14h)
Printer services are supported (int 17h)
ACPI is supported
USB legacy is supported
Smart battery is supported
BIOS boot specification is supported
Targeted content distribution is supported
BIOS Revision: 4.6
 
Old 07-06-2014, 09:36 AM   #8
notsure
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All my motherboards I know have UEFI firmware read: "UEFI is supported"

Looks like your MB does not support UEFI as you would like to use it.
I have no idea what that config option does.
 
Old 07-06-2014, 12:03 PM   #9
metaschima
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notsure View Post
All my motherboards I know have UEFI firmware read: "UEFI is supported"

Looks like your MB does not support UEFI as you would like to use it.
I have no idea what that config option does.
Yup, here's mine:
Code:
Handle 0x0000, DMI type 0, 24 bytes
BIOS Information
	Vendor: American Megatrends Inc.
	Version: P2.20
	Release Date: 05/01/2014
	Address: 0xF0000
	Runtime Size: 64 kB
	ROM Size: 8192 kB
	Characteristics:
		PCI is supported
		BIOS is upgradeable
		BIOS shadowing is allowed
		Boot from CD is supported
		Selectable boot is supported
		BIOS ROM is socketed
		EDD is supported
		5.25"/1.2 MB floppy services are supported (int 13h)
		3.5"/720 kB floppy services are supported (int 13h)
		3.5"/2.88 MB floppy services are supported (int 13h)
		Print screen service is supported (int 5h)
		8042 keyboard services are supported (int 9h)
		Serial services are supported (int 14h)
		Printer services are supported (int 17h)
		ACPI is supported
		USB legacy is supported
		BIOS boot specification is supported
		Targeted content distribution is supported
		UEFI is supported
	BIOS Revision: 4.6
Notice that UEFI is supported, and the ROM size is larger. So, the conclusion is that your BIOS is just a BIOS, nothing more.
 
Old 07-08-2014, 06:54 AM   #10
maja_ldm
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I have to admit I'm overly confused, ASUS support affirms that this laptop has a "traditional BIOS compatible with UEFI". I was looking through examples of installation of UEFI versions of Windows in similar laptop models or computers which use the APTIO suite and it seems like no two examples are the same.

I don't really need a UEFI setup, but at the same time I'd just like to setup what's best and more efficient, if in this case it's BIOS so that's it. I just have an irrational fear that I may have problems in the future trying to run Windows systems from a vm.

More importantly, this laptop has always had problems booting from live USB and I guess this firmware has a lot to do with it (if I remember correctly the process involves manually setting the pathfile to an .efi file.. ). Well I'll open specific threads as soon as problems arise..
 
Old 07-08-2014, 07:29 AM   #11
NGIB
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Disable UEFI boot and use the computer in legacy BIOS mode. If you do not want to run Windows 8, this is the easiest solution...
 
  


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