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I recently bought a new Dell notebook for my girlfriend and I want to know if the computer comes with a UEFI BIOS, unfortunately I didnt find any information in the manual or on Windows, is there some way to discover it?

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What model laptop, and what is the current BIOS manufacturer, and revision info? – KCotreau Jun 29 '11 at 16:35
I dont have this information with me now, i will take a look next time I have the machine. However, i wish to learn how could I discover it this information on generic machines. – Diogo Jun 29 '11 at 17:09
@ Diogo, check my edit below. – Moab Jun 29 '11 at 17:38
@ Moab: Thanks, i will verify it. – Diogo Jun 29 '11 at 17:42
doing a quick check, there's no documentation on if you can check on UEFI on WMIC. There's a pair of charecteristics that arn't on the official MS documentation i'm chasing down tho. – Journeyman Geek Jun 30 '11 at 0:16
up vote 8 down vote accepted

There will be an extra UEFI partition on the hard drive, It may be hidden, if you can get a look at the files in the partition there will be some with an .efi file extension.

Different manufactures label the partitions differently, mine is labeled "HP_TOOLS"

I agree with William, all the new laptops I have seen in the last 2 years have UEFI


Another way may be to look in the C:\Windows\Boot folder for an EFI folder, it does not exist on non efi bios system's, You may have to unhide system or protected folders in folder options to see this folder.

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UEFI has nothing to do with your HP recovery tools partition. – Breakthrough Jun 29 '11 at 17:07
Oh yes it does, it is where all the uefi tools are, and on HP business line of PC's you can add your own efi tools, it is also where the HP bios update is stored to flash the bios, also a backup copy of the old bios for recovery purposes, but I will look at any links you wish to provide to back up your notion. – Moab Jun 29 '11 at 19:42
I don't think the extra partition is required -- otherwise that would mean that you couldn't boot the machine without an extra hard disk. – Mehrdad Jun 30 '11 at 3:01
The EFI System Partition is where the operating system boot loaders live on machines with EFI firmwares, Mehrdad. – JdeBP Jun 30 '11 at 11:56
Just about all UEFI systems have a BIOS emulation mode - they are "UEFI-capable" (as the question is asking), but will boot legacy bootloaders. The method described in this answer only applies if the system is set up to use UEFI boot, and is therefore inaccurate. – Bob Feb 28 '13 at 16:23

I am having problems confirming this information, but, I have personally not seen a laptop released within the last few years (non atom and latest technology) that was not EFI.

The best bit of advice I can give is to write down the BIOS version/serial/manufacturer and try to Google it and see what you can find out.

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If EFI/UEFI meant extra partition on the HDD, this would imply that UEFI based machines can't boot diskless, and yet they can! You can't rely on that to determine if a machine is (U)EFI capable. Furthemore, HP_TOOLS does exist on non-UEFI based installations, it is created by some extra tool (ProtectTools, BIOSUPDate, Sparekey etc), so even if you do have HP_TOOLS on your HDD, it does not mean your PC is UEFI based.

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Follow Computer> C:(or your Local Disk)> Windows > Panther

In the folder look for the file called setupact. Open it and hit Ctrl+F to find the string:

Callback_BootEnvironmentDetect: Detected boot environment:

It will be either BIOS or UEFI.

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Awesome. It seems to work for me. Mine is new dell inspiron 2320 aio. I had doubts as to mine may not have uefi. When i searched the file , as stated above, confirms my suspicion, it says BIOS. So 2 things are confirmed. 1) the above solution works and 2) Mine is bios. Thanks – Naai Sekar Jun 7 '13 at 15:50
You 're welcome ;) – Yannis Dran Jun 10 '13 at 20:33
The value I have for this entry is BIOS, however I also have an EFI folder in my C:\Windows\Boot directory, which according to Moab indicates a UEFI. These contradict each other! – Bryan Sep 4 '13 at 15:18

Put an Ubuntu 13.10 amd64 CD/DVD into the optical unit and on reset bring up the boot menu. If the PC has UEFI, the boot menu will present two items for the CD, one marked as "UEFI" and another "normal" one. If you select the normal one, you will get a graphical menu, while selecting the UEFI item will give you a textual menu. See this link for screenshots:

The other answers are incorrect. I have a UEFI PC with Windows 8.1, but no EFI partition, also the \Windows\Panther\setupact.log file has "Callback_BootEnvironmentDetect: Detected boot environment: BIOS".

Also, what if the HDD is inaccessible (it died and you replaced it with a new blank one)? Or you are assembling a new desktop PC and you haven't installed any OS yet?

There might be other tools to check the BIOS/UEFI type that might also work from USB sticks. I'll leave those to be an exercise for the reader...

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