Intel is developing technology that could reduce down time for some computers, by allowing the UEFI/BIOS firmware to be updated without the need for a reboot.

As spotted by Phoronix, the feature is called “Intel Seamless Update,” and it’s likely aimed at servers first. But the technology could eventually find its way to consumer hardware.

Intel

Firmware updates are often required to patch security vulnerabilities or performance issues. But since rebooting a system to apply that update means a system will be offline for a couple of minutes, it can cause disruptions for data centers.

So Intel is initially positioning Seamless Update as a feature for users that have “high Service Level Agreements” that require zero down time (or as close to it as possible). The company says its new technology allows firmware drive updates can installed and activated at runtime.

Recent code commits suggest that Intel Seamless Updates will target Linux systems, which makes sense since most servers are running some version of Linux. The operating system would be able to manage the firmware update without requiring a reboot.

While there’s currently no evidence of plans to make the feature available for PCs running Windows or other operating systems, I’m sure there are folks who wouldn’t mind having a personal computer that also never needs to be rebooted, even to install UEFI updates.

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  1. Pretty much only useful when you’re in the kind of business where you can’t trust the systems administrators or the server technicians, since the kind of exploits its useful against generally require physical access.
    So if it shows up in end user computers, the only thing its going to be good for is stopping you from installing your choice in operating systems. Or sneaking in backdoors that aren’t present out of the box.