Microsoft Patch Fixes Intel's Buggy Spectre Patch: Do You Need It?

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After Intel yanked Spectre and Meltdown fixes due to buggy behaviors, Microsoft is here to clean up the mistakes. Yes, one of the attempts to protect users went so bad, you'll want a patch to protect your PC from it.

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If you're wondering how bad Intel's patch could be, the CPU-manufacturer stated the Spectre variant 2 patch that's at fault here led to "higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior," situations that it admits risk "data loss or corruption."

Who should download this update?

Intel's major distribution channel was through PC makers, so if you acquired an update from the company who made your system (such as Dell, HP, Lenovo) during the last month, you'll want to grab it now. Those who only downloaded Spectre fixes directly from Microsoft and its Windows Update method, can skip this.

What To Do

Unlike previous updates related to Spectre and Meltdown, though, you need to manually download this update, which is found here on the Microsoft Update Catalog, and is enumerated as KB4078130 Update for Windows, that it released on Jan. 27.

MORE: Meltdown and Spectre: How to Protect Your PC, Mac and Phone

This download supports PCs running Windows 10, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, as well as Windows 10 LTSB, Windows Embedded Standard 7, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016.

In the statement released by Microsoft accompanying the KB4078130 update, it claims that "As of January 25, there are no known reports to indicate that this Spectre variant 2 (CVE 2017-5715 ) has been used to attack customers." It continues to suggest that "Windows customers, when appropriate, reenable the mitigation against [Spectre variant 2] when Intel reports that this unpredictable system behavior has been resolved for your device."

The affected PCs include those running Coffee Lake, Kaby Lake, Skylake, Broadwell, Haswell, Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge architectures, which is to say most Intel CPUs dating back to 2011. A full list of affected processors is here, and includes some older models as well.

Credit: Markusenes/Shutterstock

Author Bio
Henry T. Casey
Henry T. Casey,
After graduating from Bard College a B.A. in Literature, Henry T. Casey worked in publishing and product development at Rizzoli and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, respectively. Henry joined Tom's Guide and LAPTOP having written for The Content Strategist, Tech Radar and Patek Philippe International Magazine. He divides his free time between going to live concerts, listening to too many podcasts, and mastering his cold brew coffee process. Content rules everything around him.
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