Published: Wed, January 10, 2018
Technology | By Russell Knight

Microsoft Pauses Windows Security Updates to AMD Devices

Microsoft Pauses Windows Security Updates to AMD Devices

Microsoft has paused issuing security updates to some Windows PCs with AMD chipsets after reports emerged that the updates were leaving the systems unbootable (see Warning: Microsoft Fix Freezes Some PCs With AMD Chips).

Users took to the company's support forums en masse, with the bulk of complaints coming from users with Windows machines running on AMD chips.

Microsoft has identified a compatibility issue with a small number of antivirus software products. It's unknown which CPUs were affected, but one report identified specific vulnerabilities in the Athlon and Sempron chips.

For now, Microsoft has stopped the distribution of this update to PCs with AMD processors.

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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.

Microsoft said that it is still testing the speed impacts of updating systems, and it doesn't have concrete numbers yet. You can find the full list of Windows editions and supporting update information here.

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.

Apple Inc also released an updated version of its operating system software on Monday to fix the security flaw.

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The discovery of the Meltdown and Spectre flaws sparked an worldwide panic last week because it hit billions of computers and smartphones. However, for Windows 10 PCs with Intel Haswell CPUs or older as well Windows 8 and 7 systems using these same old processors, the performance impact will be much more significant.

Because Windows clients interact with untrusted code in many ways, including browsing webpages with advertisements and downloading apps, our recommendation is to protect all systems with Windows Updates and silicon microcode updates.

Microsoft is now working on a new patch and has laid out several methods for those who have found their AMD device to be stuck in an unbootable state following the installation of the faulty fix. But Google publicly confirmed the flaws on Wednesday after outside researchers began independently unearthing the flaws.

Microsoft Windows vice president Terry Myerson wrote in a blog post Tuesday morning that Windows 10 users running Intel-based PCs made within the last two years could suffer very modest slowdowns of less than 10 percent. Intel's own findings largely confirm Microsoft's results.

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