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Building a Windows 8 Home Server: Configuring Your UEFI Motherboard


Building a Windows 8 Home Server – Step by Step eBook

Building a Windows 8 Home Server – Step by Step is We Got Served’s essential guide to Microsoft’s “re-imagined” Windows operating system… with a twist! Whether you’re new to the world of home servers, thinking about upgrading from Windows Home Server or swapping your Network Attached Storage device for a real computer, this 360 page eBook will help you build, install and configure Windows 8 for home server use.

Buy Now from the WGS Store: £9.99

  1. Introduction
  2. Windows 8 Home Servers: Why and What?
  3. Home Server Hardware
  4. Building the Server
  5. Configuring Your UEFI Motherboard
  6. Installing Windows 8
  7. A Lap Around the Windows 8 Desktop. Erm, Desktops
  8. Storage and Storage Spaces [eBook Exclusive]
  9. Managing User Accounts and Family Safety
  10. Homegroups and Shared Folders
  11. File History, Backup and Data Recovery [eBook Exclusive]
  12. Windows 8 Media Streaming & Play To
  13. Remote Access, Remote Media Streaming and the SkyDrive Cloud [eBook Exclusive]
  14. Running Windows Home Server as a Virtual Machine in Windows 8 [eBook Exclusive]

As a consumer, over the last 20 years of computing, you’d probably find it difficult to articulate the key developments in BIOS development. BIOS engineering (Basic Input Output System – the low-level code that starts up and manages the running of your hardware) doesn’t get a lot of headlines, and in truth, whilst BIOS code has improved over the years, it’s not the most fascinating. It all looks like DOS, and therefore must be a bit cheesy, right?

Until now. UEFI is here! That’s right, Unified Extensible Firmware Interface has replaced the BIOS in modern PCs. UEFI offers support for aging BIOS features, but brings many more to the table that fit nicely with the Windows 8 feature set, including:


  • The ability to boot from hard drives larger than 2TB
  • Faster start-up times
  • A live network connection ahead of OS boot
  • CPU independent drivers and architecture
  • Rich user interface, controlled by the mouse (DOS design, be gone!)
  • Enhanced security features, including Secure Boot


That last feature is one that’s caused particular controversy during Windows 8 development – it’s not such a concern for us building our own hardware, but is worth a quick note for background. UEFI includes a feature called Secure Boot, which prevents the unauthorised running of firmware or UEFI drivers running at boot time. Of course, the question here is who governs what is unauthorised and what is authorised? Microsoft will mandate that OEM Hardware manufacturers that seek the company’s Windows 8 Certification (like HP, Dell, Samsung, Acer and the like have done historically) must implement UEFI on their systems. That’s fair enough. However, there’s some small print.

On standard desktop and laptop systems, the manufacturers must allow the secure boot feature to be switched off, allowing the installation of alternative operating systems on that hardware (say if you wanted to wipe Windows off the system and install Linux).

However, on ARM-based tablets (which will run a specific edition of Windows 8 called Windows RT) manufacturers must not allow Secure Boot to be switched off. So, if you buy a Windows 8 tablet with an ARM processor running Windows RT, that’s the only OS you’ll be allowed to install on it. Cue controversy – it’s a massive shift from the open architecture of the IBM PC, right?

The controversy is very much a sidebar for us here, as we’re not focusing on tablets, and especially Windows RT tablets but it’s a great example of one of the powerful features that has been developed in UEFI.


A Lap Around UEFI on the ASUS P8H67-I DELUXE Motherboard

Obviously there will be distinct variations between implementations of UEFI across the range of motherboard manufacturers. But to give you a flavour of how UEFI works on a typical motherboard, and what we need to do to to configure it for our home server needs, we’ll walk though setup on our ASUS P8H67-I DELUXE. Now, motherboard manufacturers are notorious for branding features that are generic across a wide range of products, so some of the language may differ compared to your own motherboard, even if the feature is actually the same.

To bring this to life, let’s look at how ASUS describe their UEFI support:

Flexible, Easy BIOS Interface

ASUS brand new EFI BIOS offers a user-friendly interface that goes beyond traditional keyboard only BIOS, to enable more flexible and convenient mouse controls. Users can easily navigate the new EFI BIOS with the same smoothness as their operating system. The exclusive EZ Mode displays frequently-accessed setup info, while the Advanced Mode is for experienced performance enthusiasts that demand far more intricate system settings.

The take-out? You manage the configuration experience using a mouse (common to most UEFI setups) and ASUS pull out the most frequently accessed settings in a separate screen (again, you’ll see this on many motherboards).

Let’s boot our (soon to be) Windows 8 PC and take a look at UEFI setup.



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Terry Walsh is the founder of We Got Served. He started the community in February 2007 with a mission to help families, tech enthusiasts everywhere figure out the technology needed to run the modern home and small business. He's the author of a number of guides to Windows, Windows Server and OS X Server and runs his own successful publishing business. Born and raised in Liverpool, England, Terry has been awarded Microsoft's prestigious Most Valuable Professional Award each year since 2008 for his work on We Got Served.
  • bobbyc

    I’m enjoying the articles Terry. Thanks for the detailed explanation of all the settings. I’m looking forward to building my first uEFI system.

  • WilliamP

    My interest is piqued – I’ll be waiting on the future installments.

  • Mutzer

    Great article an site in general. Just a comment about the UEFI unpgrade. I have an aasus p8h67-m pro board, and the UEFI looks exactly the same as here. When I upgraded my homeserve some months back, to WHS2011, I did like you, backed up my UEFI, and upgraded to the newest. After this, my server would not shutdown…OS and disks shutdown fine, but fans etc kept running..restart was fine. Anyways..the point of this comment was, that It was not possible to restore my UEFI. I tried countless ways, with the same result…a message stating that the UEFI I was trying to restore, was older then the version I had now, so it could not do it. Eeehh…of course it is an older’s my backup 🙂 So I found that utterly useless. I ended up needing to use some thirdparty UEFI tool, and flash the UEFI wiht coutless warnings about errors etc, but it worked. Phew! So if anyone knows how do to this easely, please let me know. Could not log in here, but my username is mutzer.

  • 8675309

    until they transition ntfs to to efi this is a point less option to enable & most of the pc manufactures know this to the point of removing it

  • jp

    well even if you don’t get a k cpu can’t you still adjust voltages and frequencies just not the multiplier on the cpu? so you would still be able to overclock just not simply without also having to play with memory and other settings

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