For quite some time, the market has been rife with the news that the latest version of Windows, Windows 8, is going to be launched sometime soon. While there is no official word on the matter, there have been many rumors that have spread. Most of them have been denied but some information has been verified by the industry experts. Among those waiting excitedly for the new Windows are industry gurus, broadband experts and obviously the customers. They want to know whether they need to get new devices or that their existing gadgets will be compatible with the new operating system. There is another pertinent question being asked: will Windows 8 secure boot address x86 device market by preventing privacy? The answer to this can be derived only after taking certain facts into consideration.
The Major Concern: UEFI Secure Boot
Microsoft has created a comprehensive list of requirements for manufacturers that want to use the new operating system. Among the various requirements are at least 10 GB of free memory space. Touch based devices need to have at least five points of touch. There are certain other criteria that need to be fulfilled in order for a manufacturer to declare that its devices are compatible with Windows 8.
Essentially, this means that Linux is the manufacturer that is going to suffer. None of their devices meet the required criteria. This is the main point of contention for the Linux users as they are simply prevented from making use of the Windows 8.
The one new feature that is the root of the problem is the UEFI secure boot. Designed as a replacement for the BIOS, the UEFI has been known to be one of the reasons why Microsoft is cautious about letting on information about Windows 8. Little has been confirmed about this feature but broadband experts agree that the major issues lie with it.
The Future of x86 Processors
The main thing to be taken into consideration is that the predecessors of the UEFI secure boot were designed for the x86 processors. As you know, the x86 is one of the oldest versions of processors and there are specific requirements for booting. This can create problems when you are trying to dual boot a device with a newer processor.
Microsoft has attempted to keep the Windows 8 free from piracy. This involves designing the secure boot to work in such a way that there are no chances of operating it without a license. For the new feature to work on x86 processors, the systems need to have the permission to make changes to the firmware certificate store. If the users are unable to add or remove firmware, they will be unable to use the Windows 8 operating system on an x86 processor.
The newer x86 Windows 8 systems need to allow users to install the necessary certificates. For this, Microsoft has altered the standard mode, which allows only Microsoft certificates. The users enter custom mode, under which they are allowed to install the necessary certificates on their systems. But, there is a drawback to this.
The compatibility of Windows 8 with an x86 processor has still not been assessed. This means that the user needs to turn off the secure boot in order to install the certificate. With the new UEFI secure boot, it is still not certain that users will be able to do so. In effect, the users have to change their systems to BIOS mode to install the certificates.
Here, you can question the necessity of having a new booting feature installed when the required certificates can be installed only with the older version. This is a chink in the armor that Microsoft needs to address sooner rather than later.
Hence, it is clear that Microsoft is trying its best to protect the Windows 8 from being pirated. It has designed and developed a new feature to ensure there is no wrong use of the new operating system. However, Windows 8 does not secure boot address x86 device market with this move. Users will have to switch to BIOS mode, something they have to do manually, for the necessary certificates to be installed properly.
The above article is written by Rosette Summer. She is associated with many technology and designing communities including broadband experts as their freelance writer and adviser. In her free time she writes articles related to technology, mobile applications, etc.