Windows 10 Essential Updates Have Serious Problems

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…

The carnage caused by the Meltdown and Spectre bugs has hit a new victim: Windows 10 users. The irony, however, is it isn’t the dangerous vulnerabilities themselves which are causing the problems, but rather the fixes Microsoft MSFT -0.43% has issued in an attempt to patch them.

In response to numerous complaints on the company’s official support forum, Microsoft admitted many AMD-powered PCs running Windows 10 have been so badly affected by the updates that they no longer switch on. Interestingly Microsoft says the blame for this stops with AMD:

“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.”

The good news is Microsoft has pulled the updates. For reference they are:

  • January 3, 2018 – KB4056897 (Security-only update)
  • January 9, 2018 – KB4056894 (Monthly Rollup)
  • January 3, 2018 – KB4056888 (OS Build 10586.1356)
  • January 3, 2018 – KB4056892 (OS Build 16299.192)
  • January 3, 2018 – KB4056891 (OS Build 15063.850)
  • January 3, 2018 – KB4056890 (OS Build 14393.2007)
  • January 3, 2018 – KB4056898 (Security-only update)
  • January 3, 2018 – KB4056893 (OS Build 10240.17735)
  • January 9, 2018 – KB4056895 (Monthly Rollup)

This isn’t much good for users already impacted and unable to switch on their PCs (there is no word how they will be helped at present), but it does limit the potential for future damage

Of course Microsoft itself isn’t entirely blameless here. The fact it made Windows 10 security updates automatic and unstoppable means that even if users were aware of the problem in advance they had no way to protect themselves other than disconnecting their computer from the Internet.

Up to date computers are important, but working ones are even more so.

As such, while the potential scale of damage Meltdown and Spectre can create is vast, we are already seeing the fallout from companies racing one another to rush out patches can be devastating as well…