Bios maker promises 'bunker' for PCs

Phoenix Technologies, the maker of bios (basic input/output system) software for most of the world's PCs, will unveil a software...

Phoenix Technologies, the maker of bios (basic input/output system) software for most of the world's PCs, will unveil a software environment for PCs and other devices that creates a "bunker" in which critical utilities can be stored next month.

The protected space could hold utilities for self-healing, diagnostics, virus protection, emergency Internet access and remote desktop rebuilds that could be accessed quickly even after a system crash. Software in this space, located outside the operating system, could help protect systems against viruses and worms.

Phoenix, along with partners including Intel, Microsoft, Toshiba and Dell, will unveil the standards-based environment on 18 February.

The "bunker" will incorporate elements of Phoenix's existing FirstBIOS and FirstWare Environment products. FirstBIOS is software that is used to get a PC started and control devices such as the hard disk and display. FirstWare Environment is a "service area" on a special, protected part of the hard drive that can store software for tasks such as system diagnostics, emergency Internet access and system recovery.

The new environment will store critical utilities in another, more secure place in the system that has never been used for this purpose. The technology will be used primarily in PCs but can be embedded into many other kinds of devices, such as PDAs.

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