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Microsoft pushes out emergency patch to disable Intel’s buggy Spectre fix

Microsoft has hurried out a second patch to disable Intel’s patch for the Spectre bug after it was found to cause unexpected reboots for processors.

At the start of January, Microsoft released a patch to plug the Meltdown and Spectre CPU flaws that can cause kernel data to be leaked by applications. However, the patch was found to cause some slowdown with Intel processors.

Intel also released its own patches, but its fix for the Spectre flaws was found to be buggy, with the firmware update potentially leading to “data loss or corruption”.

The chip maker warned people away from the patch until it has tested and released a more stable fix.

But Microsoft appears to have taken matters into its own hands and has issued a patch that disables Intel’s fix for the second variant of the Spectre bug. Redmond noted that this will prevent machines with Intel CPUs for from rebooting without warning.

Microsoft’s update is available for Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7, though users will need to download it manually to put it into action.

The patch essentially disables the fix for variant two of Spectre but will still protect against the first variant of the flaw. Given the second variant of the Spectre flaw is not easily exploited by hackers, having a machine that doesn’t crash randomly is probably a safer bet than using a buggy processor patch.

Microsoft only recommends Windows users make use of Intel’s patch once the chipmakers has a fully-tested and stable patch for Spectre.

Related: Samsung Galaxy S9 release

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