back to article It gets worse: Microsoft’s Spectre-fixer wrecks some AMD PCs

Microsoft’s fix for the Meltdown and Spectre bugs may be crocking AMD-powered PCs. A lengthy thread on answers.microsoft.com records numerous instances in which Security Update for Windows KB4056892, Redmond’s Meltdown/Spectre patch, leaves some AMD-powered PCs with the Windows 7 or 10 startup logo and not much more. Users …

  1. thames

    Aren't Athlons from the late 1990s to very early 2000s? I'm surprised that given the RAM, graphics, and hard drive requirements changes since then that a PC from that era would run Windows 10 at all.

    1. Steve Todd

      They made Athon CPUs until about 2010

      The Athlon II was released in late 2009, so they are well capable of running Windows 10. MS are skimping on testing again.

      1. Sandtitz Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: They made Athon CPUs until about 2010

        "The Athlon II was released in late 2009, so they are well capable of running Windows 10. MS are skimping on testing again."

        The MS support thread mentions only AMD CPU models made around 2006-2007. Athlon II seems to be in the clear.

    2. Phil W

      There are even Athlon CPUs on the fairly new AM4 platform, some models released as late as Q4 2016 with more planned this year.

    3. foxyshadis

      The problems are happening on Athlon 64s -- those CPUs that forced Intel to abandon Itanic in the 2000s -- not the ancient 32-bit ones that you could overclock with a pencil.

    4. DRue2514

      I have an AMD X2 which dates from 2009 and it runs Windows 10 pretty well; at least until this patch arrived.

      1. hifitollo

        64bit AMD x2 in full use - before this MS patch

        My family, three generations, use a lot computers which I, as a retired e-professional, maintain and update. We have a lot "older" computers, mostly all six to ten years old, which have been in full use: in working, studying in university and school - depending of the age of each user generation.

        We could buy "the latest" shiny models, but we think that it is more ecologically and naturally also economically correct to use equipment till their end rather than throw them to worlds growing thrash piles. I have updated sw, increased memory, replaced HDD, and made fine usable computers from wrecks or "outdated" business laptops.

        We have a couple of Acer and eMachine laptops and workstations running with 64bit AMD x2-processors, and they have been surprisingly powerfulbb and reliable as compared to new hp:s and lenovos. In normal browsing, streaming, writing - no user does heavy gaming, they have Sony PS's for that.

        I really do not understand, when some people think that these fully sufficient and reliable machines are outdated and should be replaced with new ones - just because Microsoft could not write proper correction code, nor test it sufficiently before sending this "fix" to millions of computers compelled to install all Win10 fixes.

        Or is this a campaign for just trying to sell more new computers (with new Windows licenses) to people, who don't actually need new computers - only they need working windows code in their "old" computers.

        Regards,

        An "old and outdated" grandfather who is pc-support-boy for his large family.

        .

        1. fredj

          Re: 64bit AMD x2 in full use - before this MS patch

          This is far more serious than a few old pcs being knackered. There are big financial costs, time costs and all the rest of it.

          Old AMD machines have a habit of working very well and the are not constantly obsoleted by new wintel software. Mine were running Linux with a windows 10 disc in them for the hell of it and because it was licensed after being brutally updated from XP or W7. Now those old computers are completely useless for anything because I ran W10 to find out something about this problem. Too late, I now understand.

          I can not back update the processors because they will not run. I have seen comprehensive diatribes on how to remove those windows patches. That is as much use as a chocolate tea pot if you can not run windows 10 on your bricked computer.

          This is a disaster. What I need now is a list of old AMD cpus which will replace my bricked ones and are Wintel proof. Hopefully I can buy these second hand for almost nothing and get some work done.

          1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

            Re: 64bit AMD x2 in full use - before this MS patch

            I have a bunch of older AMD CPUs here. What are you after?

            Free for postage if it fits.

    5. eaas

      There are Athlon IIs from late 2000s. I wonder if those are affected, I do happen to have one old box featuring that CPU. Will investigate.

    6. Polardog

      No, plenty of modern variations sell in use.

  2. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Devil

    athlon

    a quick google search shows that there are 3.5Ghz 64-bit quad core Athlons out there... not exactly 90's tech.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: athlon

      Aim higher. Not 3.5.

      4.4.

      I assembled a machine with one for testing 5 years ago in my previous job. At the time that was the only thing which I could silence sufficiently to run under my desk while still being able to do interesting stuff at 10Gbit line rate in Linux userspace. I had to down-clock it to 3.7 because even the top end Asus motherboards at the time had issues delivering the required power. If you tried to run it at 4.7 it ran, but the board lit the red "power unstable" LED.

      It doubled up as a nice heater for the office in winter too.

      That, however, is not the model MSFT screwed up. They screwed up on the 2007-ish one. I find it surprising that there are beasts like that out there which run Win10 though as most of the motherboards from that time do not fully support UEFI and secure boot.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: athlon

        "which run Win10 though as most of the motherboards from that time do not fully support UEFI and secure boot."

        Please don't tell me people *still* think you need secure boot to run Win10.

        1. Kristian Walsh

          Re: athlon

          Please don't tell me people *still* think you need secure boot to run Win10.

          I think they're the same ones who think UEFI is a boot-locker.

          1. Simon Harris Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: athlon

            "I think they're the same ones who think UEFI is a boot-locker."

            I thought it was in charge of European football.

          2. PaulFrederick

            Re: athlon

            All Windows users are boot lickers.

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: athlon

          Please don't tell me people *still* think you need secure boot to run Win10

          Indeed. As my Parallels Windows 10 (formerly Boot Camp) VM can testify.

        3. Dave Bell

          Re: athlon

          I have AMD hardware, and it's a Phenom rather than an Athlon, and I am very glad I don't run Windows

          Because, when I looked this up, the particular core design was sold as both a Phenom and an Athlon

          I am not sure if the afflicted users know or care about such nitty-gritty details, but just saying "Athlon" is perpetuating the confusion, and mistaking AMD branding for a chip ID is putting systems at risk

      2. DuncanLarge Silver badge

        Re: athlon

        My main machine for the last 7 years or so has been an Athlon II 445 (3 cores at 3.2 GHz).

        I'm in the process of upgrading to Ryzen. Windows 10 runs fine and my motherboard would not know what a UEFI is lol. Only has a BIOS.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: athlon

      Perhaps. I'm typing this on my 3.80 GHz quad core AMD FX-4300 which I've always thought of as an "Athlon" but technically it probably isn't. The official naming gets a bit fuzzy.

      It did however receive the out of band Windows 10 patch and it boots fine and (after checking) it still runs Crysis.

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: athlon

        The problem with MS and Windows 10 isn't so much that you WILL get bricked. It's the constant worry that you can get bricked (at any time, no matter how inconvenient). Another example: Not daring to update Windows 7 any longer, just in case it installs Win 10 and ruins your PC. MS really has done a lot to remove any last remnants of trust that one could have had in them.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: athlon

          > The problem with MS and Windows 10 isn't so much that you WILL get bricked. It's the constant worry that you can get bricked (at any time, no matter how inconvenient).

          There is always a risk of that. Like getting bricked by a dubious SPI driver in a Ubuntu distro.

          1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

            Re: athlon

            But I don't get forced updates on Linux, do I?

            1. eldakka Silver badge

              Re: athlon

              I don't get forced updates on win10 either - thanks to shutup10.

        2. Gerd Stardust

          Re: athlon

          I use GWX Control Panel to prevent the update of Windows 7 to Windows 10. Works very well.

          Security updates of Windows 7 can still be installed. I have 2 PC's on which I had to return from W10 to W7: one for screen problems (screen too small and no native resolution) a second for a blue screen that I couldn't resolve. By the way I don't like the ugly W10 desktop and I installed Classic Shell.

          1. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

            Re: athlon

            "I use GWX Control Panel to prevent the update of Windows 7 to Windows 10. Works very well."

            I used it for a while, but Microsoft has stopped trying to sneak in the upgrade. I uninstalled the utility from all my Windows 7 systems long ago and haven't had a problem.

            It's OK to come up for air now.

            Up to you, of course.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: athlon

          "It's the constant worry that you can get bricked (at any time, no matter how inconvenient)" ......

          With Windows 10 you can pause accepting any updates for up to 30 days, delay accepting security updates from 1 to 30 days and delay accepting feature updates for up to 365 days. Though if you choose to defer security updates for 30 days getting your PC bricked could be the last of your worries.

          1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

            Re: athlon

            "Though if you choose to defer security updates for 30 days getting your PC bricked could be the last of your worries."

            Paranoia. The vast majority of security issues are related to users running things they shouldn't run. I have yet to see a single virus detected (or stopped at any stage) by MS defender (or whatever it's called) on my machine.

            Being bricked is sort of bad. Oh, Windows is saying it wants to update right now, as I type this! It doesn't say for how long it will disable my machine whilst updating. Nor any hint of the purpose of this update, or the extent of it. Typical arrogant MS.

            As I was planning to actually use the PC right now, I think I'll just tell Windows Update to eff off.

      2. Simon Harris Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: athlon

        "and (after checking) it still runs Crysis."

        Is that particular compatibility test for patches known as Crysis Management?

        1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

          At Simon Harris, re: Crysis Management.

          *Holds nose, fans the air futily, & groans in anguish*

          I wish I could upvote you more than once for that attrocious pun. Enjoy a pint on me... and I hope you get told a joke that makes you spit-spray it out your nose! =-)p

  3. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Trollface

    windows forced-update blues

    to the tune of "I Dream of Jeannie"

    Blue Screen

    Here comes another... Blue Screen

    Looks like another... Blue Screen

    Windows forced-update blues!

    Nice! Job! There! Micro-shaft!

    1. wowfood

      Re: windows forced-update blues

      I've had to do a clean install twice due to microsoft updates. And twice I've had to play in the bios because, for some reason, it's changed the boot partition from my SSD to my other HD (don't even know how it does that)

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: windows forced-update blues

        "I've had to do a clean install twice due to microsoft updates. And twice I've had to play in the bios because, for some reason, it's changed the boot partition from my SSD to my other HD (don't even know how it does that)"
        I've had to disconnect all except my SSD to force Windows to install to the SSD. This week I forgot and Win7 installed over my Mint 18.3 partition on the HDD instead of the partition I'd selected!

  4. druck Silver badge
    Flame

    Redmond office hours only

    "The Register cannot find a Microsoft response in the thread, a reasonable lack-of-reaction given many of the complaints accrued over the weekend."

    If Microsoft schedules patches to be installed over the weekend, they should damn well support users then too.

    1. foxyshadis

      Re: Redmond office hours only

      They don't; this is people pre-patching either out of an abundance of caution, or to be guinea pigs. (The life of a sysadmin.) If this patch goes live on Tuesday, though, Microsoft is in for a whole world of hurt at this rate.

      1. Remy Redert

        Re: Redmond office hours only

        I received this patch on Friday evening, without any action on my part, on one of the PCs in my house.

        I regularly see one or more of the Win10 machines in the household receive patches days before the rest.

        That never happens to the win7 and Linux boxes though.

        1. G2

          Re: Redmond office hours only

          some home PCs are probably selected by MS for selective deployment testing.

          Check the Feedback & Diagnostic settings on those home PCs that receive early updates. My guess is that you'll find them set at either Enhanced or Full feedback.

          1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

            Re: Redmond office hours only

            "Check the Feedback & Diagnostic settings on those home PCs that receive early updates. My guess is that you'll find them set at either Enhanced or Full feedback."

            Feedback and Diagnostics comes in "Basic" and "Full". I'm on basic and got it over the weekend.

          2. Remy Redert

            Re: Redmond office hours only

            All machines under my care are set to avoid Microsoft's espionage as much as possible. The machine that received the patch early even runs in a VM with a Linux host blocking pretty much all communication with the mothership because it's the machine I use.

            I've now stepped that up to blocking all communication with Microsoft IPs. I'll have to rely on script blockers, anti-virus and an extremely restrictive firewall to protect my machine, as I can no longer trust their patches.

        2. Schultz
          Thumb Up

          I regularly see one or more [..] machines in the household receive patches days before the rest.

          Welcome to the exclusive Guinea Pig program. You receive early updates with exciting functions -- it's fun for the whole family! I, for one, am grateful that you perform this very important role. Keep it up, and don't forget to yell at MS if you find any issues before Tuesday!

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
            Angel

            Re: I regularly see one or more [..] machines in the household receive patches days before the rest.

            Welcome to the exclusive Guinea Pig program. You receive early updates with exciting functions -- it's fun for the whole family! I, for one, am grateful that you perform this very important role. Keep it up, and don't forget to yell at MS if you find any issues before Tuesday!

            And at the end, there will be cake!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Redmond office hours only

        I thought this patch was delivered the end of last week. It was disabled unless your AV program updated the registry to show they had tested it?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Redmond office hours only

        "this is people pre-patching " .......

        No. It was an out of band emergency patch aimed at stopping early exploits before the patch Tuesday release.

    2. Tinslave_the_Barelegged

      Re: Redmond office hours only

      You're drinking the wrong kool-aid - yet another "news" outlet actually saying Meltdown and Spectre "are not bugs, all they're doing is abusing the normal function of Intel, AMD, and ARM processors."

      https://www.csoonline.com/article/3245770/security/spectre-and-meltdown-what-you-need-to-know-going-forward.html

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Redmond office hours only

        "You're drinking the wrong kool-aid"

        Someone's got Intel shares, for sure!

      2. Someone Else Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Redmond office hours only

        https://www.csoonline.com/article/3245770/security/spectre-and-meltdown-what-you-need-to-know-going-forward.html

        Why would anyone pay attention to anything the Chicago Symphony Orchestra would say on this matter?

    3. hifitollo

      Re: Redmond office hours only - are the any human people anymore?

      I have managed to discuss with "virtual agens" only, when trying to contact support.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wish to thank

    Windows 10 free upgrade users for testing this out for me, and finding this problem. Your work is appreciated.

  6. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Why is it that I could predict these things happening back when Win 10 with forced updates was introduced, but MS couldn't?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Apathy implies some kind of lack of interest. MS is interested, but don't really give a flying feck about ordinary people. They are just too big for that, and their marketing budget is too big as well.

        My question was largely rhetorical.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Don't confuse ignorance with apathy."

        Don't confuse apathy with intention.

        This is why we need home users beta testers.

      3. Updraft102 Silver badge

        "Heeey! Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand!"

        -Homer Simpson

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Why is it that I could predict these things happening" .......

      Sadly it's a no win situation. Most non technical (and many technical people too) don't know if a patch is critical, pointless or potentially damaging so have no basis on which to accept or reject it. So either they follow the little security education they recall and say yes to patches or they don't bother with patching.

      If you don't force security patches lots of people will never install them. My daughter is a prime example of this. In the Windows 7 days despite knowing she should patch she would always say "no" when offered a patch as she was only using the PC because she needed to use it at that moment, so didn't have time for a patch. When she gave me her malware infested machine to fix because it wasn't working I saw she hadn't allowed it to patch for over a year. At least with Windows 10 her PC stays patched, and as far as I can tell the forced updates are causing her little or no discernible grief.

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        MS made it so slow and painful to update that people stopped updating.

        My experience of Linux on the other hand is the complete opposite. It doesn't tend to unexpectedly force a reboot on you either.

        It's pretty simple: MS is fixing a problem of their own making by introducing forced updates.

      2. eldakka Silver badge

        > Most non technical (and many technical people too) don't know if a patch is critical, pointless or potentially damaging so have no basis on which to accept or reject it.

        It's pretty hard to know whether a patch is necessary or not when the only information MS supplies in the list of patches is "this is a security update".

        MS should be supplying full patch information in the windows update interface, not a generic message.

        1. Twilight

          Microsoft used to give much better information on each patch (and I would read it and select which ones to install). I think this was on XP - I would even "hide" some updates which would prevent them from being installed or showing up in the list again.

          Unfortunately, at some point, Microsoft apparently decided users didn't need to know what the patch was actually fixing and stopped giving any sort of information that would allow us to choose.

    3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Why is it that I could predict these things happening back when Win 10 with forced updates was introduced, but MS couldn't?

      Because you don't make vast wedges of cash from selling user-data to advertisers? It's remarkable how making money off something seems to switch off self-critisism..

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Yes. That is the correct answer.

  7. Dave K Silver badge

    >>"Others have been able to do so, only to have their machines quickly download and install the problematic patch all over again"

    And this milord is exactly why mandatory and forced updates are a BAD thing!

    1. TG2.2

      Agreed bad, but you know microsoft will just spin the press .. "oh look at how many we've saved, the millions running our windows 10 with updates that don't brick won't be part of the worm spreading masses"

      And this happened before .. remember the driver that killed gamers systems for keyboards and mice? Yet where do they go? .. back to microsoft to slurp up more free gruel. MMMMmmm thank you microsoft might I have some more?

      FYI tell your friends, the first places Spectre related malware is likely to show up? .. those "download to see this movie" apps. We internet poor do love our stolen goods.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "FYI tell your friends, the first places Spectre related malware is likely to show up? .. those "download to see this movie" apps. We internet poor do love our stolen goods."

        Quite right. I dont run AV at home, because I am the only one there and I dont do stupid shit like that. The machines I made for gf and stepson have plenty of AV , because they will click on anything.

        If people could just learn to not download executables ( or to download them from a suitable URL ) everything would be fine.

        In fact I think I will start imposing corporate lock down type policys on friends and family.

        1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Do try and instill fear in them. It's the only thing that might work.

          If they are not afraid, they simply have no idea of how vulnerable they are.

          Feeling confident because you have Antivirus software is the worst kind of delusion,

  8. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Bah, humbug and fol-de-rol

    My Win10 install on my work laptop is still churning away with windowsupdates.

    Luckily I have another PC running Linux Mint.

  9. Pan Narrans

    Just Spectre-acular

    Maybe the spectre of testing caused them to have a meltdown

  10. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

    How to delay windows 10 updates

    If you do not want to be a guinea pig when new updates are released - disable the Windows Update service for a week or 2 after a new patch is announced to let others be the guinea pigs. Also for any major change - make sure that you take an offline backup.

    1. Joerg

      Re: How to delay windows 10 updates

      Better yet.. use a 3rd party tool to disable all the automatic updates and Microsoft spyware in Windows10. Install the cumulative updates manually.

    2. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Re: How to delay windows 10 updates

      Install Windows (not 10) or any other operating system?

      No icon. Not a joke.

    3. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: How to delay windows 10 updates

      A lot of work involved in enjoying the fruits of 30 years of operating system development, don't you agree?

  11. eJ2095

    Explains why

    When i reinstalled 10 back ont neighbours PC after the hardrive had failed it ran an update and got stuck on the windows logo....

    yup athlon 64.

    But it did repair it self so alls good for now

  12. Dave_uk

    BRICKS!!

    Now we are all bricking it, in more ways than one.

  13. asphytxtc
    Thumb Up

    I see Microsoft's windows beta test program (aka Windows 10 for home users) is working just as designed. Thanks to this, these oversights will never reach paying enterprise customers now :)

  14. Captain Badmouth
    Devil

    Dear windows user...

    We detect that your machine is using an AMD processor. Unfortunately as a result of our most recent patch your machine has been rendered unusable which is why you cannot see this notice.

    Thank you for "running" Microsoft Windows.

  15. Phil^

    Typical

    I've been trying to walk parents through fixing their pc of remotely with no joy whatsoever as a result of this. Microsoft ought to be paying for techies to be sent out on site to repair each and every one that's stuck bluescreening as a result of their deficient testing regime.

  16. TheGreatCabbage

    The title implies that the update bricks (damages) the hardware, but it seems like it would be fine with a new installation of Windows (a previous version) or Linux. Nevertheless, it would be rather inconvenient...

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Windows 10...

      Software or hardware bricked? It's hard to know the difference with Windows 10 as it tries to take control of the hardware away! ;)

    2. Captain Badmouth
      Happy

      "The title implies that the update bricks (damages) the hardware, but it seems like it would be fine with a new installation of Windows (a previous version) or Linux. Nevertheless, it would be rather inconvenient..."

      So, unhalfbricking?

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        "So, unhalfbricking?"
        They do it to give us something to do on our holidays...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I had some luck with this

    I had 4 AMD servers running 2008R2 and 2012 that showed a stop error after this patch. I managed to recover by starting Windows recovery (F8, repair my computer), opening command prompt and using this command below:

    Dism.exe /image:c:\ /cleanup-image /revertpendingactions

    Mileage may vary

    1. MrT

      Re: I had some luck with this

      Exactly my experience - Turion64 X2 CPU - although it was easy enough to just roll back to a recent restore point. I'll note that command, though, since it's good to have alternatives - cheers!

    2. Tim Bates

      Re: I had some luck with this

      I was silly enough to check the MS site for instructions. My first thought was system restore, but I figured MS would have any additional info.

      NOPE!

      All MS is providing is a link to a generic BSOD diagnostic guide. Not even a suggestion to simply roll back with system restore.

  18. Bob Vistakin
    Facepalm

    That putrid patch

    Is particularly pissing plenty of people off. Perhaps it's punishment for their poor choice of PC OS provider. They can't be pleased with the problematic pickle they're placed in.

    1. lorisarvendu

      Re: That putrid patch

      Perhaps they should p-p-pick up a p-p-penguin?

  19. Nano nano

    So: Unplug network, Create restore point, Re-enable network, Install patch ...

    perhaps ...?

    1. Luiz Abdala
      Pint

      Re: So: Unplug network, Create restore point, Re-enable network, Install patch ...

      Cross a few pair of fingers.... have a beer...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its by Design

    Thats because MS and Intel are in bed together and scratching each others backside.

    SO give it to them AMd's, mate ! (said Intel)

  21. Zippy's Sausage Factory
    Facepalm

    No Restore Point?

    Well, Microsoft can be forgiven for ignoring this new technology.

    I mean, they've only been around since Windows ME, after all...

    </sarcasm>

  22. Florida1920
    Facepalm

    Patch Tuesday

    Bitch Wednesday

  23. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    2018 - the beginning of the end?

    Looking at the first weeks crop of crap, I wonder if this could finally be the year that the idea of desktop computers finally dies? I don't see any sign that it's going to get better ...

    1. Bob Vistakin
      Facepalm

      Re: 2018 - the beginning of the end?

      This crop of crap is a calamitous catastrophe. Clearly, the cruel conundrum caused by the callous carelessness of microsoft caught countless careful citizens chillingly.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: 2018 - the beginning of the end?

        Charming!

  24. David Gosnell

    KB4056892

    Interesting that update KB4056892 is designated a quality improvement update by Microsoft, with only passing mention of security (possibly including the specific issues) at all. It's one thing being a bit hush-hush about all this, but would be reassuring if users knew for sure they were protected as best they could be.

  25. Luiz Abdala
    FAIL

    Are Intel/AMD scrambling to create new processors without the flaws?

    Is nobody answering that question?

    Yes, several chips have multiple degrees of vulnerability for the issues... And Microsoft and Linux worlds can scramble to patch the issues via software, but...

    CAN Intel and AMD design new chips without the flaws? Would they call it Core i3.1 or Core i4, or Core i6...?

    Is it safe to say that Intel Roadmap have its place reserved on the trash bin, or at least delayed a whole generation to circumvent the design issue?

    Did they stop making the faulty processors, or do they just expect the OS'es producers to completely fix the problem on the OS level?

    Keep making the same processors with the same flaws is like keep making cars with Takata airbags to recall them later!

    STOP DOWNVOTING ME! This is a valid question!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Are Intel/AMD scrambling to create new processors without the flaws?

      The fault is with Intel chips. The error is with all other types of processing using branch prediction (AMD, ARM etc). This speeds up computers, but introduces methods to break security. So new software or hardware is needed to make security stronger, or change the branch prediction logic.

  26. Dave Bell

    Something isn't right about this.

    Unless I am confusing Meltdown and Spectre there's something very wrong here.

    1: Meltdown only affects Intel CPUs but it can be patched.

    2: Spectre affects all CPUs but can't (yet) be patched.

    3: There is a third AMD bug, which apparently needs physical access to the machine to exploit

    So just what is the update supposed to be doing, because i am not sure it should even be trying to install on an AMD machine?

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Something isn't right about this.

      I assume it's the same as the "No Windows 9 allowed" idea. If they released Windows 9, Windows 95 software would bug out after checking the 9, and finding no 5. ;)

      So here, it bugged out finding a CPU not labelled as Intel or Ryzen?

  27. Compression Artifact

    Exactly which AMD processors are getting hosed?

    "KB4056892 is not your friend if you run an Athlon"

    I have an AMD Phenom II X4 945 processor that's about 10-12 years old. The Windows update that Microsoft is offering me is KB4056894. I'm wondering if this processor is Athlon-related and whether this update is safe.

    1. MrT

      Re: Exactly which AMD processors are getting hosed?

      That's the Windows 7 version of the patch. It broke one of my laptops running an AMD Turion64 X2 CPU, but went fine on another running an Intel Core2Duo T7200. Be careful. The good news was that running the system repair sorted it out (from the F8 startup menu before the Windows logo pops up) - if you've not got a recent one, make a restore point yourself before trying the patch.

    2. Compression Artifact

      Re: Exactly which AMD processors are getting hosed?

      It's now a day later, the morning of Patch Tuesday; and I see that Windows Update is no longer offering me KB4056894. Looks like it got recalled:

      https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4073707/windows-operating-system-security-update-block-for-some-amd-based-devi

      As of right now, Windows Update is showing me no "important" updates.

    3. Jakester

      Re: Exactly which AMD processors are getting hosed?

      Not sure if the Phenom's are on the hit list, but casualties in my organization with AMD:

      Ath 64x2 4450 - BSOD stop screen, could not repair - reinstalled Windows 7 and updates - still running

      After learning of this brick through Windows:

      Ath 64 x2 5200B BSOD stop screen - automatic repair fixed today

      Ath 64 x2 4450e BSOD stop screen - automatic repair fixed today

      Ath 64 x2 4450b - Unknown at this point - instructed user to not shut down at end of day so I could move data to another computer. Can't access remotely and it is not responded to WOL. I suspect the room it is located in has a blue nite light at the moment. I'll find the status of that machine when I go in tomorrow.

  28. Lion
    Holmes

    piggy piggy piggy

    I read that a BIOS update is required to address the Spectre vulnerability. It can not be fixed in the OS.

    Microsoft recommends the customer call their manufacturer for the BIOS update. Do pigs fly?

    The Intel CEO should go to jail for what he knew and when he knew it. AND for selling a huge percentage of his Intel shares after he learned that the shit was about to hit the fan. Do pigs fly?

    AMD and AMD customers should get a public apology from Microsoft for sending the meltdown patch to systems that did not require it. A full page ad in every newspaper (print and online). Do pigs fly?

    Class action lawsuits filed on this matter should primarily benefit those computer owners who have systems that are more than 5 years old ($500 per system), not the lawyers. Flying Piggies LLP ?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Meh Meh Meh

      That must be some pretty powerful BIOS sauce.

      Will it rip out the branch predictor and install a new one?

      The Intel CEO should go to jail for what he knew and when he knew it.

      That CEO must actually be BRAINIAC. "Stupid engineers! My enormous computronium-based intellect foresees a fault in your design that can be exploited by exquisite cache timing measurements and that will bite us in the arse 10 years later ... SHIP IT ANYWAY!! MUAHAHAHAH! MY HATE SHALL YET BE QUENCHED!!!!"

      (decimates the engineering team because punishment must be meted out no matter what)

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Meh Meh Meh

        Perhaps they didn't know. But do you HONESTLY believe they wouldn't ship anyway if they did know? Such extreme naivety! We are talking multiple billions of losses here if a processor line was completely withdrawn, and the top brass is BUSINESS people -not engineers with pride and integrity! Grasp this: Business people and sales people don't have pride in the products! All they ever worry about is money. OK?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Meh Meh Meh

          Yeah... not like the German engineers that fudged engine performance during emissions tests in the US. Corruption is pervasive in society. Get used to it and try to rationalize why one should remain on the straight and narrow when lots of others are scamming. My excuse is Karma.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So what exactly happens to Phenom x2

    Preferably before my system eats itself, that would suck.

    Hint: M$ seems to have pre-empted the hackers this time, where the cure is worse than the disease.

  30. archivisth

    Bricks Windows 7 AMD Systems Too

    The analogous fix for Windows 7 (KB4056894) bricked my venerable Optiplex 740 (Athlon 64 X2), with a cryptic blue screen of death. Further, system restore doesn't work, failing with "unknown error code 0x8000FFFF". There's an elaborate fix for system restore (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/2709289) that requires merging a hotfix into a repair disk via black magic.

    Time to turn off Automatic Updates again... just when they're needed most.

    1. mutin

      Re: Bricks Windows 7 AMD Systems Too

      By what I've read, AMD does not need Meltdown patch as it has only Spectre problem. Does not help victims of just freshly baked hot-fix but may be answers what is the root reason for crashing computers. M$ puts crap and honey in one barrel and guess what is the result ...

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There must not be a single AMD machine in Microsoft's patch testing labs

    Haha, I jest. What patch testing labs? SatNad doesn't care.

    "If a patch borks something, we'll just release another patch! Remember to set Windows Update to always-on!"

  32. Amos1

    It bricks Windows 7 on AMD Athlon X2 as well

    Yup, it showed up on my PC tonight, before Patch Tuesday, and a family member saw it and applied it dutifully, just like I told them they should always do. The Windows automatic startup repair would not work. I could use one of its options to rollback to the Restore Point it created before it installed and all is well now. And Check For Updates is now turned off.

    This was an HP desktop. My Compaq desktop also has an AMD processor so I removed its power cord for now. Both are 10+ years old and started out on Vista but are running perfectly for the limited use they see.

  33. qwerqwer

    Nice title by the paid author

    Wow "wreck some AMD machine" instead of "wreck AMD Athon machine from year 2000", this way people who saw the headline and didn't bother to read the article will make assumptions that even Ryzen is affected which it does not. How does wrecking a EOL, less than 1% in the world be "gets worse"? Its like this example, it gets worse, the volkswagens cars is getting wreck, only the pre 90's era beetle. So stupid.

  34. Hunterman

    Task Manager process

    wuauclt.exe = amdfubar.exe

  35. Voja

    It is true

    So this explains why my old home server stopped working two days ago. It's an Athlon CPU running Windows 7 Pro and now it won't boot, it halts with a strange blue screen, with only one line of memory addresses. I guess it's time for that long overdue Linux upgrade.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It is true

      Do the steps in "I had some luck with this" post earlier. It will fix it.

      It wont install Linux

    2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: It is true

      If it's just a file server I can't see the point of running Windows at all on it.

      1. Voja

        Re: It is true

        Well I'll try that one liner later today, but I'm not optimistic because i meddled with winsxs folder and disabled restore points.

        I kept Windows on that old Athlon machine because it was convenient enough for a fileserver, video surveillance receiver, p2p file sharing, testing web apps on Windows server, and most of all for Oracle db I need for my faculty project.

        If simple approaches for repair fail, I'll put in an SSD with Linux from an old laptop and conjure up some virtual machine abomination in order to run that Oracle server for a few weeks more. Anyways, there goes a few hours of my time, thanks a lot MS!

        P.S.

        My other machine which runs AMD Phenom II 1055T survived this Windows 7 patch with no problems.

  36. aurizon

    There is a high likelihood that this tracks back to Intel's door - Intel actively wants to spread some mud onto AMD and could well supply information to microsoft to use as a fix that contained am AMD wrecker

  37. The Alphabet

    My AMD laptop installed the patch automatically over the weekend, then immediately disabled the keyboard during the boot sequence, so i couldn't type the PIN to boot into windows.

    I had to take my laptop back home (i was out travelling) and stick a USB keyboard into it just to type the PIN.

    Well done.

  38. Frank Thynne

    Hasty Updates = Bad Engineering = No QA

    It's time Microsoft and others learn that Software Development needs Engineering Discipline and strong Quality Assurance. Windows 10 shows much evidence of bad engineering. Marketing and Sales need to have their wings clipped and QA needs to have a much stronger voice.

  39. PaulFrederick

    This is what happens

    When you relinquish control to a faceless corporation that does not care about you in the slightest. But you shouldn't be running such antiquated hardware anyways. So it's totally your own fault.

    1. Toni the terrible
      Holmes

      Re: This is what happens

      And that applies to politics too; faceless corporation (faceless government - you cant call Trump & May real faces) antiquated hardware (government systems of all kinds) - all this is common with effective monopolies that fail to pay reasonable taxes - so how is that our fault that we the majority have no real choice.

    2. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: This is what happens

      "But you shouldn't be running such antiquated hardware anyways. So it's totally your own fault."
      IPCop runs on a 386 with 32 MB RAM. Heck, I published a book on that hardware and it's still doing useful stuff! Hint: if you get consigned to the scrapheap because you're "antiquated" you'll only have yourself to blame ;-)

  40. Conundrum1885 Bronze badge

    This is why

    If you use Windows always have a hot swap drive in reserve in case the system gets totally broken.

    This got me out of trouble more than once when for no discernible reason a routine KB update hosed my system (black screen during startup).

    Yet installing the same update on a fresh install then the hot swap drive worked fine.

    Maybe undetected malware/drive corruption/etc ?

  41. Jakester

    Bricked

    Had 3 computers running Win 7 Pro on Athlon processors with BSOD Monday morning (stop screen). They were planned for replacement in the next year, but this is still very inconvenient.

  42. mutin

    AMD does not require a fix for Meltdown as was explained

    I do not understand why MS issued the fix for AMD for both Meltdown and Spectre while it was said that AMD is not vulnerable to Meltdown. That possible is starting point for the mess.

  43. Speeednet

    AMD pain

    I have experienced many of the same problem described above including the error when trying to use the restore to an earlier time. However I did find on his machine, earlier restore points. Most of which threw up the same memory read error. However one from November ran right through and I thought it had completed, but has displayed this error message. http://www.http://speeednet.co.uk/images/amd.jpg Could be that the fix is preventing itself being changed or removed, so in essence what is the difference between this fix and a virus?

    I am currently using Dart 7 to try and uninstall the hotfix, when it finally stops the spinning timer and kicks in.

  44. John 61
    Meh

    This does have an effect

    on later AMD processors as I couldn't get it to install. It then went into a download loop reporting different error numbers (0x8024a105 was one of them) as it went. A quick Bing of the error messages directed me to the relevant support pages which directed me elsewhere.

    Disabling anti-virus software (before my 3rd attempt at download/installation) did the trick and I lived to tell this tale. In my case there were 2 updates in this package and restarting the computer twice installed the 2nd update after the 1st one (separately), anti-virus having no effect on the 2nd pass.

    HTH.

  45. Barcld

    Spectre update

    My Pc is AMD phenomenon based and runs windows 10. The Microsoft fix was applied in a recent updates the pc boots up without any problems as have been described by many. Maybe the update onlyaffects athlon based pcs.

    1. Barcld

      Re: Spectre update

      Please excuse the spelling. Should be amd phenom x3

  46. PCGuy9985

    Who's going to replace my bricked hardware?!

    Completely Bricked. AMD 1800X, Asus Strix X370F, GTX 1070.

    This is complete crap on Microsoft's part. I've never been so ready to bail on Windows than I am right now.

    This "patch" completely bricked my PC. BSOD every time. I even pulled hard drives to drop in a fresh drive and tried to boot from a newly created windows 10 install USB. Still, I get the same BSOD errors. Which one of them, AMD or Microsoft, is going to replace by new door stop?

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: Who's going to replace my bricked hardware?!

      So what did they patch, in case a new boot partition doesn't affect things?

      I suspect you are doing something wrong. (Not trying to defend MS and Intel.)

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AMD running OK with the patches

    AMD Athalon 7450 Dual-Core with the KB4056892 patch installed and my machine runs fine.....

  48. Conundrum1885 Bronze badge

    My data points

    Did fresh 10 install on Phenom X2/8GB 12800 DDR3L/C650D machine with brand new SSD.

    So far it seems to be working fine but did notice that the damnable atibtmon.exe error is back after one round of patches.

    Could there be a connection?

    I have yet to try it on an older system as it is in pieces due to the lack of a working graphics card and my 40" monitor being tied up with fecking This Morning!

    (cough multipath hack with 3D glasses so I can use the TV at the same time /cough)

    My older system is a Core 2 Duo T7300 running Intel/W7 x32 so shouldn't be affected.

    Also two netbooks both Intel Atom based.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thankfully, I had a recent data backup along with an Acronis partition image from October. Other than updating the system with the December rollup, I was lucky to be back in business in less than an hour.

  50. Phat_Monkey

    Not Just AMD systems, ALL SYSTEMS, its luck of the lottery draw...

    All I see is AMD this and that in regards to KB4056892, but many systems are affected including mine that houses an i7 5960x on a Gigabyte X99-SLI motherboard. The PC went into a boot loop. Fortunately for me I had made an Arconis backup on the 6th of January before this mess was released, so I went back, downloaded the tool to hide the update and also created a group policy windows update choosing option 2 which prevents windows from downloading updates without my consent, this only works on Windows 10 Pro. I contacted Microsoft and the representative told me that many systems are reporting similar issues across the board, so this is not an exclusive AMD problem...

  51. TURK182

    I fix the update follow this

    Okay long story short the update killed my desktop and to format hard drive and reinstalled windows 10. After 2 weeks I hit the check for updates button in windows 10 and it wanted to install the update again with a windows defender update also. It did it's thing and installed the update, after it wanted to restart to finish but this is what I did different this time. I went and downloaded this update for AMD processors from Microsoft.

    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4073290/unbootable-state-for-amd-devices-in-windows-10-version-1709

    Downloaded and installed that update, once it finished it asked to restart, so then I finally restarted the computer.

    It rebooted and booted right up, checked update history and it had the KB4056892 and the the KB4073290 installed successful.

    So it will never try install it again.

    Problem solved..

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