Microsoft has stopped pushing a number of Windows 10 updates, including the Meltdown and Spectre mitigation patches, because they were bricking some AMD PCs. Frustrated users were left with their AMD PCs in an unbootable state after installing those updates. The cure was, in this case, worse than the disease!
These Windows 10 Updates Are Bricking AMD PCs!
Following reports of users unable to boot up their AMD PCs after applying Windows 10 updates, Microsoft has identified the following security patches and updates from 3-9 January 2018 as the culprits :
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)
In the affected AMD systems, the Windows logo will appear after the PC reboots to complete the upgrade process. However, it won’t complete the boot process.
What AMD CPUs Are Affected? Updated!
Neither Microsoft nor AMD have revealed what AMD CPUs are affected but based on user reports, here is a list of affected AMD CPUs.
- AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X
- AMD Ryzen 7 1700
- AMD FX-8350
- AMD A10-7800
- AMD FX-6350
- AMD Phenom II X6 Black Edition 1090T
- AMD Opteron 180
- AMD Athlon X2 5050e
- AMD Athlon X2 4850e
- AMD Athlon X2 4450B
- AMD Athlon X2 L310
- AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+
- AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+
- AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+
- AMD Athlon 64 X2 5400+
- AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+
- AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+
- AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+
- AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+
- AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+
- AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+
- AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+
- AMD Athlon 64 X2 3200+
- AMD Athlon 64 X2 TK-57
- AMD Athlon 64 X2 TK-55
- AMD Athlon 64 FX-62
- AMD Athlon 64 FX-60
- AMD Athlon 64 1640B
- AMD Sempron 3200+
- AMD Turion Neo X2 L625
- AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-60
- AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-56
- AMD Turion X2 RM-72
- AMD Turion X2 RM-70
Needless to say, the list above is NOT EXHAUSTIVE. We will update the list, as and when, people report them.
On 11 January 2018, AMD stated that the problem affected AMD Opteron, Athlon and Turion X2 Ultra processors.
How Did This Happen?
Microsoft is blaming documentation from AMD, stating 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.“
Technically, Meltdown and Spectre are CPU, not chipset, vulnerabilities. So Microsoft was probably referring to CPU documentation provided by AMD.
What Is Being Done?
Because Windows 10 forcibly installs updates, Microsoft has temporarily stopped pushing those Windows 10 updates to the affected AMD processors. They’re now working with AMD to correct the problem with those patches.
According to AMD, the new patches will be issued sometime in the week of 15-21 January 2018. At the time of this update (16 January 2018), the new patches have not been released.
Microsoft’s Confusing Statement New!
Microsoft invited some confusion when they stated on 11 January 2018 that “Microsoft has resumed updating the majority of AMD devices with the Windows operating system security update to help protect against the chipset vulnerabilities known as Spectre and Meltdown.”
As far as we can tell – they only resumed Windows 10 updates for the AMD CPUs that are NOT affected by this problem. They merely identified the affected subset of AMD CPUs, and only blocked updates to them – “A small subset of older AMD processors remain blocked to avoid users getting into an unbootable state after installation of recent Windows operating system security updates.”
Should You Install Windows 10 Updates? New!
As Microsoft claims to have accurately determined which subset of AMD CPUs are affected, it is theoretically safe to continue installing Windows 10 updates. Windows 10 should be able to identify your CPU and block the updates if it’s one of the affected models.
That said, there is still NO RISK of a Meltdown or Spectre attack. For all of the hype and panic, there are no know exploits of the speculative execution bug in the wild. The Meltdown and Spectre exploits also require physical access to the system.
So we still think it is better to be safe than sorry and HOLD OFF your Windows 10 updates, if you have an OLDER AMD CPU, until Microsoft releases the proper patches in the next few days.
Meltdown + Spectre Reading Suggestions
- Everything We Know About The Intel, AMD & ARM CPU Bug!
- The Complete List Of CPUs Affected By Meltdown / Spectre
- Pre-2016 Intel CPUs Hit Worst By Meltdown + Spectre Fix
- Yes, AMD CPUs Are Also Vulnerable To Spectre 2 Exploit
- Intel Reboot Issues With Meltdown-Spectre Patches