Some AMD system owners reported that the latest Windows patches, which include the fixes for the Meltdown and Spectre CPU flaws, have been bricking their computers. Following these reports, Microsoft decided to halt the updates until it tracks down the issues and makes the necessary changes.
Meltdown/Spectre Patches Bricking AMD Machines
Microsoft has begun issuing Meltdown and Spectre fixes in its cumulative Windows update, but some owners of computers with AMD Athlon 64 X2 CPUs started complaining that the update made their machines unbootable.
To make matters worse, the fact that the update was mandatory meant that there was no easy way to disable the updates, either:
“I have older AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+, Asus MB, after installation of KB4056892 the system doesn't boot, it only shows the Windows logo without animation and nothing more, said one user on Microsoft’s support forums.“After several failed boots it do roll-back then it shows error 0x800f0845. Unfortunately, it seems it's not easy to disable the automatic updates without gpedit tweaks, so it tries installing and rolling-back the update over and over,” he added.
Microsoft listed some updates that will no longer be delivered to AMD devices for now, and going through them seems to show an issue with antivirus solutions. However, the user in question said on the forums that he had no antivirus installed other than Microsoft’s Windows Defender.
Microsoft Blames AMD
Microsoft concluded in its post that AMD gave it the wrong documentation for some of its chips:
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.
Microsoft said that it will pause the updates until it can resolve the issue with these AMD chips by working together with AMD. Microsoft also warned the impacted users that even if they have a compatible antivirus, they may not receive the Windows updates.
The company also put together a list of resources that may be of use to those whose’ AMD systems have become unbootable.