Fixes for Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities don’t do much good if they render the “fixed” computer unusable in the process.
That’s the problem facing an unknown number of PC owners using AMD processors. It’s been almost a week since Microsoft rolled out the KB4056892 security update for Windows 10, and some AMD users are reporting system freezes after installing it.
This is most apparent in a lengthy forum thread on Microsoft’s website which, as of this writing, spans 17 pages. Computers equipped with AMD processors — apparently, it’s older ones like Athlon and Semperon — are no longer able to boot after installing the update. Rolling the system back using a restore point fixes the issue, some say, but only temporarily, as Windows 10 immediately attempts to reinstall the update.
A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed the issue in a statement provided to The Verge. According to the rep, the issue stems from AMD’s documentation for the processors — which Microsoft used to ensure support for the patch — not lining with the physical reality of the affected chipsets.
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.
Now aware of the issue, Microsoft has since taken action to stop this from happening until a fix can be devised. Nine Windows 10 security updates in total represent a threat to AMD systems, and they’re all being withheld from affected machines pending a solution, according to Data Breach Today.
There’s no timeline for the release of that fix, but it probably won’t be a long turnaround given the threat posed by Meltdown and Spectre.