Windows UEFI development course

WinInsider — probably via Alex Ionescu — has a UEFI development course available.  Alex is the author of VisualUEFI, which hides the non-Visual Studio’isms of EDK-II development. Alex, along with others at Wininternals, is also one of the current authors of the “Windows Internals”  book from Microsoft Press, now a 2-volume 6th edition set, originally called “Inside Windows NT”, written by Helen Custer.

Windows UEFI Development (3 Days or 5 Days)

In this course, one can expect to learn the internals of the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface inside and out, from the high-level concepts and overview of its functionality, down to the low-level development of actual UEFI applications, drivers, and services. The seminar will go over the history of UEFI’s development, from its original “Intel Boot Initiative” days to today’s SecureBoot facilities (and controversies), discuss the core UEFI data structures that form the basis of the environment, describe the different internal boot phases of the UEFI Runtime, and go in detail over the main UEFI protocols and their semantics. The course will also cover how UEFI leverages several Microsoft technologies, such as Authenticode and the Portable Executable (PE) format. Finishing off the lecture section will be a deep dive on how Windows 8 and later take advantage of UEFI to support booting off GPT disks, implementing SecureBoot, and speeding up the boot experience. Windows user-mode and kernel-mode APIs that interact with UEFI, as well as internal kernel data structures and capabilities in the UEFI HAL will also be shown off. Alongside the lecture period, attendees will get their hands dirty with bare-to-the-metal UEFI development using Visual Studio, as well as learning how to setup the UEFI SDK (EDK) to work alongside Microsoft’s development tools. Participants will get the chance to build their own UEFI applications, drivers, and runtime services, as well as learn how to debug and test their work in the OVMF environment alongside QEMU, without requiring actual UEFI hardware. The course will also show how to develop and build SecureBoot-compatible binaries. Finally, attendees will discover the Windows-specific Boot Application Runtime Environment, how to build compatible applications, and how to leverage the environment from both a UEFI and PCAT perspective. Attendees will then write both offensive and defensive UEFI code that hooks and/or protects the Windows Boot Loader.

UEFI Course Outline:
* Introduction to UEFI
* UEFI Architecture
* UEFI Protocols & Services
* Windows and UEFI
* Windows Boot Application Environment
* Windows Boot Loader Internals
* EDK and Visual Studio Development
* Windows & UEFI Interfacing

* UEFI Protocols: UEFI Device Handles, UEFI Text and Graphics, UEFI Local and Remote I/O, UEFI USB & PCI, UEFI File System, Custom Protocols
* UEFI Services: UEFI Boot Services & Runtime Services, UEFI System Table, ACPI & UEFI, Custom Services
* UEFI Architecture: Measured Boot & Secure Boot, UEFI Stages & Layers (SEC, PEI, DXE), GPT Partitioning, Types of UEFI Binaries
* Windows & UEFI: Calling UEFI Services, Accessing UEFI Variables, Windows Boot Library and UEFI, BCD and UEFI, HAL and UEFI
* Windows Boot Environment: PCAT and UEFI Portability, Core Data Structures, Entrypoint and Callbacks,  Building a Windows Boot Application
* Windows Boot Loader: Boot Stages, Boot Loader Functionality, Security Services (BitLocker and more), Boot Structures, Handoff to Kernel
* UEFI Development: Obtaining and Installing the EDK, Setting up Visual Studio with the EDK, EDK Hello World, Interfacing with EDK Libraries, Obtaining and Installing OVMF
* Offensive UEFI: Hooking UEFI Services and Protocols, Windows Boot Environment Hooks, Persistence with UEFI
* Defensive UEFI: Checking for Boot Loader Integrity, Detecting UEFI Hooks and Bootkits





Virt-Manager updated with UEFI (OVMF/AVMF) support

Virt-Manager, as of 1.2, has support for UEFI’s OVMF/AVMF format!


I missed this news, but luckily Phoronix did not…

BTW, Virt-Manager is a SPICE client, and UEFI has some SPICE support. I don’t know what that means, I’ve been meaning to learn… 🙂 There is information on this in the below OVMF whitepaper:



Laszlo’s OVMF SMM patch status

Laszlo Ersek of Red Hat has a huge patch to Tianocore, which adds SMM to OVMF, and just posted a detailed status update to the EDK2-devel mailing list, The current test results of patch look impressive! Pretend the following table is using a fixed font:

  accel  bits  guest OS         OS boots  efibootmgr works on  S3 resume
  —–  —-  —————  ——–  ——————-  ———
  TCG    32    Fedlet 20141209  pass[1]   BSP and AP           pass
  TCG    64    F21 XFCE LiveCD  pass[1]   BSP and AP           fail[2]
  KVM    32    Fedlet 20141209  pass      BSP and AP           pass
  KVM    64    F21 XFCE LiveCD  pass      BSP and AP           fail[2]
  KVM    64    Windows 8.1      pass      n/a                  fail[2]

I’ve excerpted the key items from the TODO section of the status report: 🙂

– celebrate a bit this weekend (look at that “OS boots” column!)
– celebrate some more?

Full status report (including most of the details, and the omitted footnotes listed above):


(Also note that the EDK2-devel mailing list, which recently moved from SourceForge.net to Intel’s 01.org, is now hosted on Gmane under the gmane.bios.edk2 namespace. The previous SourceForge list is listed under the gmane.bios.tianocore namespace.)


new tool: Visual UEFI for Windows

Alex Ionescu just created a new project to help with Visual Studio / EDK-II integration.


Excerpting from it’s readme, VisualUEFI is 3 things:

1) a Solution and set of Visual Studio 2015 Project Files to allow building the official EDK-II without the use of inf files, Python and 50 other build tools, a custom dependency tracker and build system, and twenty other custom pieces of code. The EDK-II is present as a submodule, directly from the official TianoCore Tree, and no changes are done to it.
2) a Solution and couple of Visual Studio 2015 Project Files to show two UEFI sample components: A UEFI Application, and a UEFI Boot Driver. The code is 100% EDK-II compatible, but built with VisualUEFI instead.
3) a working copy of QEMU64 2.3 for Windows, with a fairly recent UEFI 2.5 OVMF Secure Boot ROM. These will updated on an ongoing basis as needed. This is integrated with the Visual Studio 2015 Sample Solution so that pressing F5 will spin up the instance for testing.

You should be able to open the EDK-II.SLN file and build without any issues in Visual Studio 2015. WDK or other 3rd party installations are not needed. Once the EDK-II libraries are built, you should be able to open the SAMPLES.SLN file and build the two samples, which will create UefiApplication.efi and UefiDriver.efi.

You can press F5 (Run/Debug) from within the Sample Solution, which should spin up the QEMU instance with 512MB of ram, and your release directory as a virtual file system accessible through “fs0:”. You can then try loading the driver with “Load fs0:\UefiDriver.efi”. You can verify its presence by using the Drivers or DevTree commands.

Visual UEFI looks like a nice improvement to Microsoft’s Visual Studio IDE. Thanks, Alex!

(This is the kind of thing I kept expecting the UEFI Forum to release, as an Eclipse plugin, like Yocto and some related projects have done.)



Earlier this month, Laszlo Ersek of Redhat contributed a large patch to the TianoCore project, adding SMM support to OVMF.

“OVMF is capable of utilizing SMM if the underlying QEMU or KVM hypervisor emulates SMM. SMM is put to use in the S3 suspend and resume infrastructure, and in the UEFI variable driver stack. The purpose is (virtual) hardware separation between the runtime guest OS and the firmware (OVMF), with the intent to make Secure Boot actually secure, by preventing the runtime guest OS from tampering with the variable store and S3 areas.”

The changes require QEMU usage with these flags:

qemu-system-i386-machine q35,smm=on,accel=(tcg|kvm)-global driver=cfi.pflash01,property=secure,value=on -smp cpus=1 …

This new OVMF SMM works on the q35 machine, only in uniprocessor guests, and with TCG acceleration it only works on x86 not x64. Apparently the lack of 64-bit support is due to 64-bit code not available in TianoCore(?):

“In addition, using OvmfPkgIa32X64.dsc or OvmfPkgX64.dsc, the patch set even stops building after a point, *if* -D SMM_REQUIRE is passed. This is due to the unavailability of 64-bit open source components from Intel, and the build breakage is fully intentional — it shows that the -D SMM_REQUIRE feature is build-level incomplete for OvmfPkgIa32X64.dsc and OvmfPkgX64.dsc, and marks precisely where further development is needed.”

More Information:

Check out the 58-part patch on the mailing list, the first and last messages have a lot more documentation:



VirtualBox 5.0 released

Oracle relased version 5.0 of VirtualBox yesterday. I don’t see any firmware features listed in the press, and I’ve not had a chance to do a code review of the new code yet. It has improved CPU and USB 3.0 support, at minimum.

QEMU is the main platform for running UEFI’s virtual firmware: OVMF. But Xen, KVM, and VirtualBox also support OVMF, to some degree. VirtualBox can also be recompiled with EFI-specific build directives to enable additional UEFI diagnostics.



(In somewhat related news, back in March, Oracle’s Linux distro got Secure Boot support.)