ReactOS gets initial UEFI and NT6+ application support

The ReactOS project has published another newsletter filled with news about their progress, and two things stand out. First, there’s now initial support for booting using UEFI.

Work has been underway since the beginning of the year to transition FreeLoader, our default bootloader for ReactOS, to support UEFI on x86 and AMD64, as well as ARM32 and ARM64. Hermès has been developing a system for passing the UEFI framebuffer information in a fashion that allows Windows XP to run on UEFI systems, while Justin Miller (TheDarkFire) has been developing the UEFI freeloader build.

On top of supporting booting ReactOS, other features are being built such as EFI chainloading and a bootmgfw-compatible build of FreeLoader. These features would add boot management capabilities and allow modern Windows systems to bootstrap our favorite bootloader.

Second, and this is a big one: work has been done to add initial support for running Windows applications targeting newer systems than Windows Server 2003. Up until now, ReactOS was limited to running Windows applications targeting NT 5.2 found in Server 2003, but now work is being done to support appications targeting NT 6.0 and newer, as found in Windows Vista and newer.

A group made up of Timo Kreuzer, Justin Miller, and other developers and contributors alike are developing the necessary APIs for compatibility with modern programs. While Timo is still working on implementing a dynamic versioning system for DLLs (#3239) that allows exporting of routines to applications depending on their compatibility settings, he has added the option for ReactOS bot builders to compile builds with NT6 exports which makes it possible to experiment with NT6+ application compatibility.

There are also various improvements to the shell and debugger, but a new release is still a ways away, so unless you want to dive into unstable builds, there’s no way to test any of this just yet. Still, hose are some massive projects being undertaken, and makes ReactOS a bit more prepared for the future.

One Response

  1. 2023-11-07 6:24 pm