Microsoft halts some AMD chip Spectre patches after PCs freeze

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AMD is aware of an issue with some older generation processors following installation of a Microsoft security update that was published over the weekend. That said, in this instance, AMD PC owners should hold off while Microsoft addresses the boot failing issue. In that support document, Microsoft blames flaws with AMD's documentation for the problem. The documentation provided to Microsoft by AMD was apparently inaccurate, which means the patch that Microsoft developed wasn't compatible.

The Meltdown-Spectre patch will not be installed on PCs running the affected anti-virus products unless the vendor in question has added a registry value in the Windows configuration database, to show it's safe to update the system. But to date there appear to have been no reports suggesting that KB4056892 was leaving systems with those chips unbootable. "After investigating, Microsoft has determined that some AMD chipsets do not conform to the documentation previously provided to Microsoft to develop the Windows operating system mitigations to protect against the chipset vulnerabilities known as Spectre and Meltdown".

"We (and others in the industry) had learned of this vulnerability under nondisclosure agreement several months ago and immediately began developing engineering mitigations and updating our cloud infrastructure", Microsoft executive Terry Myerson wrote in a blog post.

AMD processors are technically not affected by the Meltdown vulnerability, and the company has been maintaining that it also immune to the threat imposed by Spectre. If you do happen to install the update, then Microsoft's support page has a fix that should help. Intel has been working with PC makers to ready firmware updates, but it's fair to say most machines do not have these installed just yet.

Microsoft halts some AMD chip Spectre patches after PCs freeze
Microsoft halts some AMD chip Spectre patches after PCs freeze

The slowdowns were to be expected due to the nature of the bugs and the type of patching required to get them fixed. For Intel CPUs introduced in the past five years, we expect to issue updates for more than 90 percent of them within a week, and the remainder by the end of January.

To avoid having their computers rendered unusable, users are advised to pause Automatic Updates until Microsoft is able to fix the issue.

After the discovery of the Meltdown and Spectre processor flaws, Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer 11 will act a little differently, even if it's not obvious to users.

AMD shares have gained almost 20 percent in the last week as investors speculated that the chipmaker could wrest market share from Intel, whose chips were most exposed to the security flaws.

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