Tier: 2

Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) targets for application, driver, and core UEFI binaries.

Available targets:

  • aarch64-unknown-uefi
  • i686-unknown-uefi
  • x86_64-unknown-uefi

Target maintainers


All UEFI targets can be used as no-std environments via cross-compilation. Support for std is missing, but actively worked on. alloc is supported if an allocator is provided by the user. No host tools are supported.

The UEFI environment resembles the environment for Microsoft Windows, with some minor differences. Therefore, cross-compiling for UEFI works with the same tools as cross-compiling for Windows. The target binaries are PE32+ encoded, the calling convention is different for each architecture, but matches what Windows uses (if the architecture is supported by Windows). The special efiapi Rust calling-convention chooses the right ABI for the target platform (extern "C" is incorrect on Intel targets at least). The specification has an elaborate section on the different supported calling-conventions, if more details are desired.

MMX, SSE, and other FP-units are disabled by default, to allow for compilation of core UEFI code that runs before they are set up. This can be overridden for individual compilations via rustc command-line flags. Not all firmwares correctly configure those units, though, so careful inspection is required.

As native to PE32+, binaries are position-dependent, but can be relocated at runtime if their desired location is unavailable. The code must be statically linked. Dynamic linking is not supported. Code is shared via UEFI interfaces, rather than dynamic linking. Additionally, UEFI forbids running code on anything but the boot CPU/thread, nor is interrupt-usage allowed (apart from the timer interrupt). Device drivers are required to use polling methods.

UEFI uses a single address-space to run all code in. Multiple applications can be loaded simultaneously and are dispatched via cooperative multitasking on a single stack.

By default, the UEFI targets use the link-flavor of the LLVM linker lld to link binaries into the final PE32+ file suffixed with *.efi. The PE subsystem is set to EFI_APPLICATION, but can be modified by passing /subsystem:<...> to the linker. Similarly, the entry-point is to to efi_main but can be changed via /entry:<...>. The panic-strategy is set to abort,

The UEFI specification is available online for free: UEFI Specification Directory

Building rust for UEFI targets

Rust can be built for the UEFI targets by enabling them in the rustc build configuration. Note that you can only build the standard libraries. The compiler and host tools currently cannot be compiled for UEFI targets. A sample configuration would be:

build-stage = 1
target = ["x86_64-unknown-uefi"]

Building Rust programs

Starting with Rust 1.67, precompiled artifacts are provided via rustup. For example, to use x86_64-unknown-uefi:

# install cross-compile toolchain
rustup target add x86_64-unknown-uefi
# target flag may be used with any cargo or rustc command
cargo build --target x86_64-unknown-uefi


UEFI applications can be copied into the ESP on any UEFI system and executed via the firmware boot menu. The qemu suite allows emulating UEFI systems and executing UEFI applications as well. See its documentation for details.

The uefi-run rust tool is a simple wrapper around qemu that can spawn UEFI applications in qemu. You can install it via cargo install uefi-run and execute qemu applications as uefi-run ./application.efi.

Cross-compilation toolchains and C code

There are 3 common ways to compile native C code for UEFI targets:

  • Use the official SDK by Intel: Tianocore/EDK2. This supports a multitude of platforms, comes with the full specification transposed into C, lots of examples and build-system integrations. This is also the only officially supported platform by Intel, and is used by many major firmware implementations. Any code compiled via the SDK is compatible to rust binaries compiled for the UEFI targets. You can link them directly into your rust binaries, or call into each other via UEFI protocols.
  • Use the GNU-EFI suite. This approach is used by many UEFI applications in the Linux/OSS ecosystem. The GCC compiler is used to compile ELF binaries, and linked with a pre-loader that converts the ELF binary to PE32+ at runtime. You can combine such binaries with the rust UEFI targets only via UEFI protocols. Linking both into the same executable will fail, since one is an ELF executable, and one a PE32+. If linking to GNU-EFI executables is desired, you must compile your rust code natively for the same GNU target as GNU-EFI and use their pre-loader. This requires careful consideration about which calling-convention to use when calling into native UEFI protocols, or calling into linked GNU-EFI code (similar to how these differences need to be accounted for when writing GNU-EFI C code).
  • Use native Windows targets. This means compiling your C code for the Windows platform as if it was the UEFI platform. This works for static libraries, but needs adjustments when linking into an UEFI executable. You can, however, link such static libraries seamlessly into rust code compiled for UEFI targets. Be wary of any includes that are not specifically suitable for UEFI targets (especially the C standard library includes are not always compatible). Freestanding compilations are recommended to avoid incompatibilites.


The rust language has a long history of supporting UEFI targets. Many crates have been developed to provide access to UEFI protocols and make UEFI programming more ergonomic in rust. The following list is a short overview (in alphabetical ordering):

  • efi: Ergonomic Rust bindings for writing UEFI applications. Provides rustified access to UEFI protocols, implements allocators and a safe environment to write UEFI applications.
  • r-efi: UEFI Reference Specification Protocol Constants and Definitions. A pure transpose of the UEFI specification into rust. This provides the raw definitions from the specification, without any extended helpers or rustification. It serves as baseline to implement any more elaborate rust UEFI layers.
  • uefi-rs: Safe and easy-to-use wrapper for building UEFI apps. An elaborate library providing safe abstractions for UEFI protocols and features. It implements allocators and provides an execution environment to UEFI applications written in rust.
  • uefi-run: Run UEFI applications. A small wrapper around qemu to spawn UEFI applications in an emulated x86_64 machine.

Example: Freestanding

The following code is a valid UEFI application returning immediately upon execution with an exit code of 0. A panic handler is provided. This is executed by rust on panic. For simplicity, we simply end up in an infinite loop.

This example can be compiled as binary crate via cargo:

cargo build --target x86_64-unknown-uefi

fn panic_handler(_info: &core::panic::PanicInfo) -> ! {
    loop {}

#[export_name = "efi_main"]
pub extern "C" fn main(_h: *mut core::ffi::c_void, _st: *mut core::ffi::c_void) -> usize {

Example: Hello World

This is an example UEFI application that prints "Hello World!", then waits for key input before it exits. It serves as base example how to write UEFI applications without any helper modules other than the standalone UEFI protocol definitions provided by the r-efi crate.

This extends the "Freestanding" example and builds upon its setup. See there for instruction how to compile this as binary crate.

Note that UEFI uses UTF-16 strings. Since rust literals are UTF-8, we have to use an open-coded, zero-terminated, UTF-16 array as argument to output_string(). Similarly to the panic handler, real applications should rather use UTF-16 modules.


use r_efi::efi;

fn panic_handler(_info: &core::panic::PanicInfo) -> ! {
    loop {}

#[export_name = "efi_main"]
pub extern "C" fn main(_h: efi::Handle, st: *mut efi::SystemTable) -> efi::Status {
    let s = [
        0x0048u16, 0x0065u16, 0x006cu16, 0x006cu16, 0x006fu16, // "Hello"
        0x0020u16, //                                             " "
        0x0057u16, 0x006fu16, 0x0072u16, 0x006cu16, 0x0064u16, // "World"
        0x0021u16, //                                             "!"
        0x000au16, //                                             "\n"
        0x0000u16, //                                             NUL

    // Print "Hello World!".
    let r =
        unsafe { ((*(*st).con_out).output_string)((*st).con_out, s.as_ptr() as *mut efi::Char16) };
    if r.is_error() {
        return r;

    // Wait for key input, by waiting on the `wait_for_key` event hook.
    let r = unsafe {
        let mut x: usize = 0;
        ((*(*st).boot_services).wait_for_event)(1, &mut (*(*st).con_in).wait_for_key, &mut x)
    if r.is_error() {
        return r;