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Phoenix BIOS carves protected space on hard drive

Posted: 21 Feb 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:phoenix technologies? bios software? core managed environment? cme? firstbios?

Phoenix Technologies Ltd. has introduced extensions to its BIOS software that will help manage and secure PCs and embedded systems. Phoenix said its Core Managed Environment (cME) delivers a new set of applications that run in a protected partition of a system's hard-disk drive.

The McAfee division of Network Associates Inc. will deliver the first applications for cME, and others are expected to follow later. On system boot-up, Phoenix's FirstBios creates a protected drive space which cannot be accessed by the system's OS or by rogue viruses.

Phoenix will deliver three cME applications. FirstWare Check provides diagnostics that can be run from the protected drive space in the event of a system failure. FirstWare Rescue lets users re-image their system with a new OS. FirstWare Connect provides a core operating environment and browser so a user can connect to the Internet in the event of a system failure.

McAfee will provide a version of its virus scanning software for cME. Phoenix plans to ship a cME application later this year which handles data backup.

So far, Toshiba Corp. has said it will use the software in one of its computers. Toshiba will provide a special button on one of its notebooks to let users reboot a system from the protected hard-disk space in the event of a failure.

The protected hard-disk space is also suitable for security applications such as identifying a particular machine to a corporate network or to a digital-rights management application.

The cME software comes in versions for PCs, server, information appliances and embedded systems. The non-PC versions support X86, MIPS, ARM, MicroSparc, and PowerPC processors.

The software is available now and costs from $1 to $5 per unit based on the volume of units shipped.

- Rick Merrit

EE Times

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