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So I googled to see if I had BIOS or UEFI. In Windows 10, I go to System Information and see that my BIOS Mode is UEFI. I restarted my laptop (Asus X412FJ) and pressed F2, but the Legacy BIOS remained. I boot into an LM live disc and type sudo efibootmgr, which displays my boot entries. I assumed it would be 'Legacy BIOS compatible,' so I looked in the BIOS for a setting to toggle it, but I couldn't find it.

When I contacted ASUS, they told me that if I don't have a setting in BIOS to switch between Legacy and UEFI, I don't have UEFI. I have a relatively new laptop that is only two years old.

If I go by this answer, I have UEFI, but why don't I have Graphical UEFI?

So do I have BIOS or UEFI?

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    If the PC is two years old and came with Windows 10 it only has UEFI as this is a requirement by Microsoft (and may be a CSM for BIOS emulation). If it has a graphical UI or not doesn't matter, that is just a usability question.
    – Robert
    Jul 23 at 9:03
  • @Robert I would like a more Graphical UI for more feasibility
    – Mayank
    Jul 23 at 9:05
  • Why do you think that what is displayed after boot+F2 is the BIOS and not the UEFI? What is your BIOS version?
    – harrymc
    Jul 23 at 9:07
  • @harrymc Because I've seen that UEFI has a graphical user interface, allows mouse use, and frequently has more features, whereas BIOS is more like old-school blue-ey settings(which I have).
    – Mayank
    Jul 23 at 9:10
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    Blame OEMs for the confusion, as they idiotically use BIOS as a catch-all term when UEFI and BIOS are not the same things. Almost all, if not all, PCs manufactured >2015 have UEFI. CSM/Legacy Mode's sole purpose was to support distros/OP ROMs that didn't have EFI boot circa <2017; AFAIK, all distros today support EFI boot (Windows has since 7). CSM Mode should never be used due to this and doing so results in performance degradation since it emulates BIOS' 16bit environment and most UEFI firmware is 64bit.
    – JW0914
    Jul 23 at 13:12
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In Windows 10, I go to System Information and see that my BIOS Mode is UEFI.

You have UEFI firmware.

I boot into an LM live disc and type sudo efibootmgr, which displays my boot entries.

Yeah, you have UEFI firmware.

When I contacted ASUS, they told me that if I don't have a setting in BIOS to switch between Legacy and UEFI, I don't have UEFI. I have a relatively new laptop that is only two years old.

That's not guaranteed. (It might be more true for ASUS specifically, if their tech support says so, but it's not mandatory in general.)

Most PCs did have such an option, although it doesn't always look the same, e.g. it is sometimes called "Legacy boot support" or "Compatibility Support Module". But not all PCs do – some firmwares always work in hybrid mode, allowing you to select from both UEFI and BIOS boot options at any time.

(Note that the option doesn't actually switch the whole firmware between BIOS and UEFI – it only activates or deactivates BIOS emulation so that you could boot disks in the BIOS way, while the rest of the firmware remains the same.)

Now at least Intel has repeatedly announced that they will no longer support BIOS mode (not even the BIOS compatibility mode in UEFI), so there already exist new PCs actually don't have this option anymore – they support only native UEFI-mode boot.

I've seen that UEFI has a graphical user interface, allows mouse use, and frequently has more features, whereas BIOS is more like old-school blue-ey settings

No, not really.

Having a GUI is merely common among new UEFI-based motherboards but by no means necessary. I think it's primarily Gigabyte UEFI on desktops that always looks fancy, but plenty of older UEFI firmwares have old-school blue-ey settings (e.g. those made by AMI or Aptio).

Meanwhile, plenty of BIOS systems had graphical mouse-based interfaces even ~25 years ago (mostly laptops from the Windows 95 era) – just take a look at this 486DX PC from 1994 which has an entirely graphical AMI BIOS setup screen.

In general, UEFI-based motherboards are more likely to have GUIs because they're new (UEFI makes some things easier, and larger flash capacity also makes some things easier).

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  • To piggyback on the CSM/Legacy section, this will likely be a phased-out option in the near future since its sole purpose was to support distros/OP ROMs that didn't have EFI boot circa <2017, and, AFAIK, all distros today support EFI boot (Windows has supported EFI boot since Win 7). CSM/Legacy Mode should never be used due to this, and choosing to do so results in performance degradation (boot times skyrocket, locked to MBR, etc.), since it emulates BIOS' 16bit environment and most UEFI firmwares are 64bit.
    – JW0914
    Jul 23 at 13:06
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    When your boot-up software doesn't recognize the "state of the art" 8K monitor display which is the only one you have and just beeps at you, or displays its pretty touch-screen-compatible GUI as a credit card sized window in one corner of your 50 inch monitor, you will wish you still had some "old school blue-ey settings" that you could actually work with!
    – alephzero
    Jul 23 at 19:43

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