Phoenix, Microsoft Sign BIOS Pact for More Reliable Windows

Forthcoming BIOS software from Phoenix Technologies will provide more detailed information to future versions of Windows.

Seeking a way to improve the reliability of Windows, BIOS maker Phoenix Technologies LLC and Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday announced an agreement to develop device-level management services for future versions of the Windows OS.

The deal will tie together the Phoenix "Core" BIOS software more closely to the Microsoft OS. These forthcoming services will deliver more, sophisticated information about the state of a system to Windows and give IT managers a clearer picture of the current state of the machine, the companies said.

Currently, the various versions of Windows offer basic device-reporting capabilities, such as the type of SCSI card used by the system, together with the capability to upgrade its driver.

Meanwhile, a number of third-party companies, such as London-based SiSoftware Ltd., provide utility software that can report more detailed information about a system. This probing of the BIOS can reveal such details as CPU temperature and memory access timings.

By tying Phoenixs software with the Microsoft OS, the core operating system will become more reliable, work better, and become easier to use, said Albert Sisto, chairman and chief executive of Phoenix, in a statement. Microsoft will use the additional information to assist customers in authentication and asset control, added Tim Eades, senior vice president of corporate marketing with Phoenix.

The BIOS software will be designed to assist future Microsoft OSes when locking out unauthorized devices. It will also provide better management of devices, such as server blades, as soon as they are inserted into the system.

"You wouldnt even have to turn on the power to take control of it," Eades said. "Just plug it into the system and the software would automatically take it over."

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