Meltdown, Spectre Patch Is Making Some Old AMD PCs Unbootable

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.

Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.
  • gdmaclew
    This is highly suspect.
    Microsoft is blaming AMD for not providing them with the proper documentation?
    Since most of the reports I have seen narrow the problem CPUs to older ones, I find it hard to believe that Microsoft didn't have detailed documentation of those CPU's years ago.
    And the flaw(s) were discovered months ago. They just didn't go public until a few days ago.
    Plus I also read reports that Microsoft is sending "fixes" for the Meltdown bug to users of AMD CPU's when AMD CPU's are NOT susceptable to that particular bug/flaw.
    Microsoft had a brain cramp and now is trying to weasel out of it.
    Wouldn't be the first time.
    Plus all this "knee-jerk" low-information response by some tech media outlets (and business ones too) are having an adverse effect on AMD stock prices.
    And Microsoft stock is UP? Why?
    It will be very interesting to see what happens down the road when this is settled out.
    Methinks I smell a rat.
  • Kennyy Evony
    Intel, AMD, and microsaft need to be combined into one company and forced to work together to create a single product so none of them can sabotage their income.
  • William_X89
    So you want less competition and higher prices Kennyy?
  • chibiwings
    microsoft doesn't want to spend money patching i guess. on Old Systems and OS.
  • jam.vanduyn works for me !