You’ve probably heard about the newly discovered vulnerabilities in Intel’s processors called Meltdown and Spectre. Both are flaws in the chips’ basic architecture and are likely to effect every chip sold in the past 20 years. That is by no means a small population. Every system, from the first one you ever bought to the one you’re reading this on now could be affected. The fix to Meltdown comes in the form of security patches that will, for the time, limit the problem. Microsoft has already released these patches and they should be available through a Windows update. If you’re on Windows 10, you can download the Intel CPU Meltdown patch for Windows 10 builds here.
Meltdown Patch For Windows 10
Check Windows for Update from the Settings app before you download and install the update manually. You must know what Windows 10 version and system type, 32-bit or 64-bit, you’re running before you download the patch. There’s a different patch for each major Windows 10 version.
- Windows 10 Version 1709
- Windows 10 VersionÂ 1703
- Windows 10 VersionÂ 1607
- Windows 10 Version 1511
- Windows 10 Version 1507Â
Meltdown vs Spectre
The above patches are for the Meltdown bug only. Spectre is still a problem that cannot be resolved with a software patch though Intel is stating otherwise. The only good news is that the Spectre bug appears to affect fewer Intel chips. As per reports, the chips that are affected by Spectre are the Intel Ivy Bridge, the Haswell and Skylake processors, and AMD Ryzen chips. Chips produced by both Samsung and Qualcomm are also vulnerable.
The above patches are those issued by Microsoft for systems running Windows 10. Intel’s own patches are yet to come. These patches will come as driver updates which, if you have a particularly old system, might be a problem because they may be hard to update or may never come at all. Check your PC manufacturer’s website for any updated processor drivers available for your system .
The patches will fix the Meltdown bug only and not the Spectre bug. The only good news here is that Spectre isn’t an easy exploit to use. Other than that, users can also expect their systems to take a slight performance hit once the patch has been installed. For normal users, the performance hit will not be noticeable but gaming rigs will take a more substantial hit. If you run VMs or perform any other CPU intensive tasks, you can expect a slower system. The performance hit could be between 5% – 30% and the upper limit is definitely a significant one.