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Microsoft Suspends AMD Spectre and Meltdown Patch Rollout After Complaints of Unbootable PCs

Microsoft Suspends AMD Spectre and Meltdown Patch Rollout After Complaints of Unbootable PCs
  • Users of PCs with certain AMD CPUs reported freezing at bootup
  • Microsoft blames AMD for providing inaccurate documentation
  • The two companies are working together to resolve the problems

Following multiple user complaints that of PCs with AMD processors were freezing while booting after the installation of Microsoft Windows security patches, the software giant has announced that it has suspended the delivery of specific updates to potentially affected machines. These patches were released to protect PCs against the widely publicised Meltdown and Spectre security threats. Affected users have reported that after installing them, their PCs display the Windows boot logo but then completely stop responding.  

Earlier this month, reports began surfacing that hardware and software companies were working frantically in secret to patch one of the most widespread computer security flaws ever detected. The problem was initially thought to affect only Intel CPUs, but has since been confirmed that ARM chips, including those manufactured by Qualcomm and Apple, as well as AMD x86 chips, are also vulnerable to different extents. The security flaw arises from the way in which CPUs are designed to isolate an operating system's kernel from software in order to protect sensitive information as it is being processed. However, security researchers discovered that it was possible for malicious software to access protected memory areas and read data potentially including passwords and encryption keys. 

Microsoft has blamed AMD for this latest problem, but says the two are working together to fix it and resume the rollout of these critical security patches. "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. To prevent AMD customers from getting into an unbootable state, Microsoft will temporarily pause sending the following Windows operating system updates to devices with impacted AMD processors at this time," the company said in a support blog post.

If you have already downloaded the updates and are faced with a PC that doesn't boot, Microsoft also provides troubleshooting instructions for Windows 10, WIndows 8.1 and Windows 7.

Written with inputs from Reuters


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