Learning About Secure Boot In Windows 8

May 20, 2014

[FEATURED GEEK SQUEAK] Learning About Secure Boot In Windows 8 – This geek squeak is about a feature, called Secure Boot, that is built into the firmware architecture of the newer computers that make sure that your PC boots using only software that is trusted by the PC manufacturer.  When the PC starts, the firmware checks the signature of each piece of boot software, including firmware drivers (Option ROMs) and the operating system. If the signatures are good, the PC boots, and the firmware gives control to the operating system. From what I have read, Microsoft had encouraged the computer manufacturers to put this in place, as a security measure to prevent a Windows 8 computer from being compromised.

The problem I experienced with this, not working on computers as much since my retirement, is that I did not know about Secure Boot. I had attempted to boot a Windows 8 based (newer) PC from a third party DVD called Hiren’s Boot CD and the PC would not allow the CD to perform the boot process. I was in and out of the BIOS to make sure I had the CD/DVD drive in line to be the first boot device and it would not boot from the CD/DVD (or USB drive) due to the Secure Boot feature.  The PC, during the boot process, would look at the CD/DVD (or USB drive), BUT as indicated in the first paragraph Secure Boot did not recognize the signature and would bypass the boot disk and try to boot into Windows.

The workaround I found to this is that in the BIOS of this particular PC, I was able to disable Secure Boot and enable Legacy Boot. After I performed this task, the PC booted from the boot CD/DVD (or USB Drive). The process of disabling this feature varies, depending on the make and model of your computer. I encourage you to research this through your computer manufacturer.

To learn more about this and to validate my findings, please read Secure Boot Overview (at Microsoft) and Disabling Secure Boot.

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