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Configuration Applications Design

Table of Contents


This document is intended to describe the Setup Variable design on applicable platforms.

Revision History

Revised by Date Changes
Kun Qin 09/28/2021 First draft
Oliver Smith-Denny 7/22/2022 Add Merged YAML/XML Support
Oliver Smith-Denny 9/15/2022 Add Profile Support


Term Description
UEFI Unified Extensible Firmware Interface
DFCI Device Firmware Configuration Interface
BDS Boot Device Selection

Reference Documents

Document Link
Slim Bootloader Repo
Configuration YAML Spec
Project Mu Document
DFCI Documents
Configuration Apps Repo


This document is describing how the configuration framework functions and what changes have been made.

The proposition of this design intends to facilitate development usage and provide secure usage for production deployment.

HII in the system, setup browser in system and/or other advance display capabilities has been convoluted and pertain poor portability. Hence proposed workflow steps away from existing UI applications, HII based form rendering models on the target system and adopts data centric methods to achieve the same results.

In addition, tooling workflows are also proposed to enforce security and maintainability rules and best practices for data accessability, version migration, etc.

Note: The technical details in this document is meant to reflect the current status of design. Certain topics are still under discussion and subject to change.

OS Based Configuration App

OS Configuration App Overview

Conf Editor

  • The original framework of configuration editor is derived from Intel's open sourced project Slim Bootloader (more information in References). This framework provides graphical user interface on the host side and extensive flexibility to design and optimize configuration per platform usage.
  • Configuration editor is authored in Python which is host platform architecture independent and easy to update per proprietary requirements per projects need.
  • The configuration is driven by YAML and XML files, which can be designed per platform usage. Per YAML specification, please reference to Configuration YAML Spec in References.
  • The slim bootloader framework provides data structure conversion tooling from YAML to C header files, YAML to binary data blob out of the box. XML extensions have been added to support additional use cases. More extensions, such as output data signing, tooling servicing, will be added during the development process.

OS Configuration Workflow

Conf Workflow

  • Whenever a configuration change is needed, configuration editor can be launched on a local workstation.
  • Through the UI tool, one can update supported option as needed and export updated options as binary blob. Updated options can also be saved as "profile" that can be loaded into editor tool for faster configuration deployment
  • The exported binary blob will be encoded and signed with platform designated certificates and formatted to DFCI standard packet. (more about DFCI please see References).
  • DFCI standard packets can be applied to target system through USB sticks, OS application on target systems, or serial transport through UEFI boot application (more about UEFI configuration app here)

UEFI Boot Application

UEFI Boot App Overview

Conf App

As stated in the introduction section, this proposal intends to replace the existing UI applications, HII forms and other advanced display support. Instead, a Configuration UEFI application will be provided in lieu of traditional UI App to configuration system behavior.

  • This application is optimized for serial connection. All input and output would go through UEFI standard console, which is connected to BMC through UART.
    Note: Available input devices will be:
  • Physical USB Keyboard: This will be used for standard keyboard
  • Virtual USB Keyboard: This will be used with BMC based virtual keyboard for remote KVM.
  • Serial console for SAC: this uses VT100 terminal type for UEFI setup/Windows EMC or SAC.
  • The application will provide basic information regarding system status: Conf App
  • Firmware version
  • Date/Time
  • Identities
  • Settings
  • A few critical operations is also provided in this application:
  • Secure Boot enable/disable: Conf App
  • Select available boot options: Conf App
  • Apply configuration options from OS configuration application: Conf App
  • USB Stick
  • Network
  • Serial console

UEFI Configuration Workflow

Conf Update

With the exported configuration change from OS configuration application, this change can be applied within UEFI app:

  • USB Stick: Store the generated base64 encoded file from previous step and select Update Setup Configuration -> Update from USB Stick from UEFI App.
  • Serial Port: Open the generated base64 encoded file, and select Update Setup Configuration -> Update from Serial port from UEFI App. Then paste the encoded string into serial console.

UEFI Build Tool and Plugin

Build Tool and Plugin Overview

During UEFI build time, toolings will be provided as plugins to integrate configuration related data and enforce best practices.

Toolings from Project will cover:

  • Converting designed YAML file into binary blob to be included in UEFI firmware volume.
  • Generate C header files, if requested, for platform code consumption, and populate version transition templates.

Build Process

UEFI Build

  • During pre-build step, customized platform YAML file will be used by Project MU plugin to derive configuration header files for platform to consume during development/runtime.
  • Platform will hold a hash value in for all YAML derived C header files for this platform. Project MU plugin will generate temporary C header files per build to compare hash match.
  • If hash changed, a template of library will be generated and allow developer to author transition code if needed.
  • If hash match, build can proceed as usual.
  • At post-build, a binary blob with default configuration values will be derived from YAML files and inserted in UEFI firmware volume.

UEFI Code Change

Project Mu Code

  • BDS: Project MU BDS will provide specific event signals and platform entrypoints that are customized for DFCI settings.
  • DFCI: DFCI framework will be used to accept and validate incoming configuration against platform identity associated certificates.
  • MFCI: The MFCI framework will be used to check what mode the system is in, manufacturing mode or customer mode.
  • Settings Manager: Settings manager together with DFCI framework would apply the configuration data through platform configured settings providers.
  • Policy Manager: Policy manager controls the policy publication and revoke. Silicon policy and platform configuration should all conform to policy setter and getter APIs.
  • Profile Manager: ConfProfileMgrDxe validates and enforces profiles (collections of configuration settings for different use cases) when the system is in MFCI Customer Mode.

Platform and Silicon Code

  • Silicon Drivers: Silicon code needs to be updated to pull policy settings from silicon policy data when needed.
  • Platform Policy Drivers: Platform owners will first create PEI modules to populate default silicon policy into Policy managers provided by Project MU.
  • Platform YAML Configurations: Platform owners should then design the configuration YAML files. This would expose certain configuration "knobs" from silicon policy to be configurable through setup variable flow.
  • Platform Settings Providers: Accordingly, platform owners will develop modules to parse the configuration data and translate the exposed configurations in YAML file to/from standard silicon policies through the interface of Settings Provider (see example from Project MU).


See the Profiles doc for details.

UEFI Build

Settings Update Boot Flow

  • Formatted update configuration data from USB, serial port or OS application will first be stored to UEFI variable storage, followed by a system reboot.
  • On the next reboot, the formatted configuration data from UEFI variable storage will be authenticated (if the DFCI Unsigned Settings feature is not used) and decoded by DFCI framework. Decoded configuration data will be dispatched to corresponding platform authored setting provider.
  • Platform configuration setting provider will perform sanity check on incoming data and store this data as UEFI variable with the following specifications (source code reference here), followed by a system reboot:
Variable Name Variable GUID Variable Attributes
  • Upon a new boot, entities other than UEFI can consume the aforementioned variable.
  • After entering UEFI firmware, platform policy module will pull previously stored configuration data variable from UEFI variable and parse the data blob based on YAML derived C header files.
  • If any configuration change is required, platform should update the corresponding silicon policy through policy manager.
  • When silicon drivers load, these drivers should fetch latest policy through policy manager and configure hardware resource accordingly.