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- Rick Merrill
January 2, 2007, 5:59 pm
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Non-volatile Memory Guards Key Information
By Cameron Crotty
What data lives in vPro NVRAM?
If you're like me, as soon as you see a nifty new trick, you want to see
what's going on underneath the hood. For example, reaching out to
inventory a remote PC whether it's on or off is exciting stuff. I want
to know where exactly that information is stored, and what else is in
there. So let's dig a little deeper into the cozy little spot inside a
PC built with Intel vPro technology.
Every vPro-equipped PC comes with a section of nonvolatile memory (NVM)
dedicated. The NVM is both physically and logically separate from the
main memory banks available to the system OS—the only way into it is
through the management engine. As its name implies, the NVM doesn't
require power to maintain data integrity. It does draw a small amount of
current when the PC is plugged in so that the information is accessible
even when the PC is powered off.
Click here to read more how Intel vPro helps IT communicate with desktop
The NVM is divided into three segments. First, it hosts the signed
encrypted management engine and the information used by the engine and
Intel vPro technology. Second, the NVM stores a wealth of key system
data, including hardware asset information, BIOS configuration
information, a unique system ID, and an event log. All of this
information is automatically updated each time the system goes through
power-on self test (POST). The third segment of the NVM is reserved for
use by third-party software—it's a place where vendors can store version
numbers, configuration information, or any other data necessary.
All three segments of the NVM are accessible regardless of the OS and
power state of the PC, so long as the system is plugged in and is
connected to the network. The management engine controls access to the
NVM, while the second and third sectors contain data that IT
administrators would need for hardware and software asset inventories,
application or OS migrations, troubleshooting, and other activities.