Blue screen crashes on decade-old AMD chips seem to be widespread.

March 5, 2018

Microsoft has suspended delivering the latest Windows update to certain systems with AMD processors after reports that the update was causing the machines to crash with a blue screen of death when booting. The update contains countermeasures against both the Meltdown and Spectre attacks; although AMD systems are not affected by Meltdown, they're vulnerable to Spectre.

 

 

Withdrawing or suspending delivery of Windows Updates is not uncommon; while there is some testing done by Microsoft, releasing things to a wider audience does from time to time unearth incompatibilities or bugs within the update. What is uncommon is that Microsoft is not merely suspending this update; the company has also outlined why. Specifically, Microsoft writes that:

 

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.

 

It's not entirely clear what the documentation error is. There are some reports that users with very old AMD processors are seeing crashes because the Windows kernel is trying to use an instruction that the very earliest 64-bit AMD chips didn't support. It's not clear if this is the cause of suspension, but the bulk of the complaints do seem to concern older chips, so it's certainly possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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