Microsoft Spectre v1 Patches Borking Older AMD Systems

Doug Carpenter
January 10, 2018

Microsoft security patches to mitigate against Meltdown and Spectre chip vulnerabilities are now slowing down PCs and servers.

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. That said, in this instance, AMD PC owners should hold off while Microsoft addresses the boot failing issue. If your machine is now in an unbootable state, Microsoft recommends visiting its support site for more information. The documentation provided to Microsoft by AMD was apparently inaccurate, which means the patch that Microsoft developed wasn't compatible.

Microsoft Spectre v1 Patches Borking Older AMD Systems

On Tuesday, Microsoft also released its latest evaluation of the performance impact of the Spectre and Meltdown fixes, which showed that only one Spectre remediation has a performance impact.

The comments in a blog post were the clearest signal from Microsoft that the microchip flaws for Intel and other chipmakers described last week could meaningfully degrade performance.

And Microsoft and AMD are working on the issue, but the fact that an unknown number of PC owners with AMD CPUs are going to have to wait to have their devices protected from the risky bug is incredibly disappointing.

The number of affected AMD processors has not been disclosed, but an AMD spokesperson said the booting errors affect only a small subset of its "older" processors.

Microsoft said it was working with AMD to resolve the issues.

Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global, a Westborough, Mass. -based cloud solution provider, hasn't come across any AMD-related performance issues among his company's customers. Older personal computers, as well as those running the Windows Server operating system, can expect "more significant slowdowns", according to Microsoft.

"Yes, it's a security risk, but it's also at the hardware level", Falcon told CRN. Most companies with adequate, multi-tier security have less to worry about with this exploit.

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