How to See If Windows is Running on UEFI or BIOS

Wondering whether you are running UEFI or Legacy BIOS? Follow these steps to find if you are using UEFI or Legacy BIOS.

Whether you are on board or not, BIOS is almost dead. Most PCs you buy nowadays ship with the modern UEFI rather than BIOS. In fact, Intel no longer releases chipsets with BIOS support.

On UEFI-supported systems, Windows 10 can enable additional features like Secure Boot, Trusted Boot, TPM (Trusted Platform Module), Device Gaurd, BitLocker Network Unlock, etc. The upcoming Windows version. i.e., Windows 11 requires UEFI to install it. So, if you’ve bought a PC recently or a few years back and want to find if you are on UEFI or BIOS, then follow the below steps, and you will know it in no time.

Jump links:

Below verification methods work in Windows 7 and 8 too.

Benefits of UEFI

Fundamentally, BIOS and UEFI are both low-level software that checks and boots your system before the actual operating system boots. One thing to note is that BIOS is released way back in the 1980s. Of course, it has been and is improving over time.

But still, it is inherently limited. For instance, it cannot check or initialize multiple hardware devices at once, cannot support hard drives with more than 2.1TB, limited internal space to execute code and textures, etc.

Due to all these limitations, UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) specification is developed. Some of the benefits you get from UEFI are:

  • Faster startup and shutdown times.
  • PCs with UEFI can use Secure Boot. In case you don’t, Secure Boot is designed to protect Windows 10 from malware and other nasty stuff that executes in the pre-boot process.
  • The UEFI setup screen is much cleaner and even supports mouse input.
  • The UEFI specification supports networking which is boon for remote configuration and troubleshooting.

Method #1: Check UEFI or BIOS with Setup Log File

The first method is probably the best one. All you have to do is open a file and see if it says UEFI or BIOS. Just follow the steps, and you should be good.

1. First off, open File Explorer with the keyboard shortcut Win + E. Alternatively, you can also open it by searching for it in the start menu or by clicking on the File Explorer icon in the taskbar.

2. In the File Explorer, navigate to C:\Windows\Panther\. If you’ve installed Windows on some other drive, modify the folder path accordingly.3. Here, please find the file named setupact.log and open it. By default, the file should open in Notepad. If not, right-click on the file and select “Open with.” Here, find and select “Notepad” from the list of programs.

Check Windows Uefi Or Bios - Find and open Setupact File

4. Now, press Ctrl + F, type “detected boot environment,” select the radio option “Down,” and click on the “Find Next” button.

Enter "detected boot environment" and click Find Next

5. If your PC is running on UEFI, you will see something like “Detected boot environment: UEFI.” However, if your PC is running on Legacy BIOS, you will see “Detected boot environment: BIOS.”

Your detected Boot Environment

That’s it. It is that simple to check.

Check If Your PC Supports UEFI or BIOS – Method 2

If you think the above method is confusing because you need to go through a maze of folders in C drive and open an obscure file, here is an even simpler method. We are going to use the good old built-in System Information program.

1. To start, press Win + R, type “msinfo32” in the blank field, and click on the “Ok” button.

Check Windows Uefi Or Bios - Msinfo32 Run Command

2. The above run command will open the System Information program. Here, select the “System Summy” option in the left panel. You can see your BIOS mode next to the “BIOS Mode” field on the right panel.

3. If you see the BIOS Mode as “Legacy,” then it means that Windows is running on BIOS. If you see BIOS mode as “UEFI,” then it means that Windows is running on UEFI.

Look At Bios Mode - If Legacy, PC only supports BIOS. If UEFI, PC supports UEFI

That’s all there is to do, and it is that simple to check whether your PC running on UEFI or BIOS. You can use any of the above two methods to know the result with just a few clicks.

I hope that helps. If you are stuck or need some help, comment below, and I will try to help as much as possible. If you like this article, do check out how to convert Windows from Legacy BIOS to UEFI.

8 thoughts on “How to See If Windows is Running on UEFI or BIOS”

  1. Avatar for A9- KHIDR

    Hi , thanks for your sharing ; It works both methods. My Acer Aspire VN7 – 592G supports UEFI but since I set it in Legacy mode it gave me that Bios . but I go to bios settings and I changed it to UEFI mode and can not boot “no bootable device found ” error pops up . I am now struggling to fix it with Uefi mode windows 10 bootable usb by the will of GOD , I am trying to install uefi enabled windows 10 .
    Thank You

    1. Avatar for Bashkarla

      You should change the Windows configuration from BIOS to UEFI before selecting UEFI in your BIOS. Otherwise, you might be locked out of Windows.

      Try changing the system back to legacy BIOS, try to boot into Windows, change the Windows from BIOS to UEFI and the modify the BIOS settings. Alternatively, reinstall Windows after changing BIOS to UEFI.

  2. Avatar for Jade

    I’ve been reading on different boards that if C:\Windows\Boot\EFI exists it indicates you can convert legacy to UEFI, but there are other discussions that says this is not the case.

    What other ways are there to determine if a computer could be converted from BIOS to UEFI?

    Is it even worth it if the machine is ~3+ years old already or is it better to just buy a new machine and not bother converting it?

    1. Avatar for Bashkarla

      The easiest way to confirm if your board supports UEFI is to look at the user manual or the manufacturer documentation. Just do a simple search with your motherboard model number.

      Generally, if you see the EFI folder, it means that your board supports UEFI. That being said, even if the board supports UEFI, it is very likely that manufacturers use something called Legacy Mode which is kind of a blend between BIOS and UEFI. This is especially true for budget boards bought ~3+ years ago. This is done to increase the compatibility between different hardware. These types of boards allow your switch to full UEFI mode from the BIOS settings.

      Unless you are specifically looking for something that is only available in UEFI (like trusted platform), you don’t have to buy a new system just for UEFI.

  3. Avatar for Rusj

    The bad side of UEFI is .. the manufacturer make hardware replacement should use their product. It limiting consumer freedom. As like they pay for rent.

  4. Avatar for K

    Thanks, only Method #2 worked for me.
    Method #1 did not as I could find only 3 lines in setupact.log

    2021-06-03 02:36:40, Info [svchost.exe] Enter WinReIsWimBootEnabled
    2021-06-03 02:36:40, Info [svchost.exe] Parameters: pszWinDir: NULL
    2021-06-03 02:36:40, Info [svchost.exe] Exit WinReIsWimBootEnabled returns 0 with last error: 0x0

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