Ouch! Microsoft’s Meltdown and Spectre security update bricks some AMD-powered PCs

Graham Cluley

Ouch! Microsoft's Spectre security update bricks some AMD-powered PCs

Ouch! Microsoft's Spectre security update bricks some AMD-powered PCs

Bad news if you own a Windows PC that has an AMD CPU at its heart and haven’t yet received a Microsoft security patch for Spectre and Meltdown – you may have to wait a bit longer.

Bad news if you own a Windows PC that has an AMD CPU at its heart and have received a security patch from Microsoft – you may have had your computer shagged.

In a support advisory, Microsoft says it has temporarily halted sending out Windows security updates to devices containing AMD processors, after customer complaints:

Microsoft has reports of customers with some AMD devices getting into an unbootable state after installing recent Windows operating system security updates. 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.

According to reports, users with affected hardware found that after the security patch was installed they found themselves facing the Windows boot-up screen, and then nothing more…

Ouch! That’s not good.

Microsoft and its customers have been having a rough time mitigating against the Spectre and Meltdown threats, after it was found that some anti-virus products were incompatible with the fixes. Unless your anti-virus certifies it is compatible (and sets a Registry entry) you aren’t going to get any more security updates from Microsoft…

For more discussion on this topic, be sure to listen to this episode of the Smashing Security podcast:

Smashing Security #060: 'Meltdown, Spectre, and personal devices in the White House'

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Graham Cluley Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.

One Reply to “Ouch! Microsoft’s Meltdown and Spectre security update bricks some AMD-powered PCs”

  1. A very tricky issue. I'm trying to stay on top of it in order to send my colleagues helpful information. It will be interesting to see an actual exploit of this problem. For now, mitigation efforts may be worse than the problem itself.

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