Microsoft pulls security update that freezes PCs

Along with these changes, there is also some bug fixes and performance improvement in the latest update. Users of older PCs may notice a speed deficiency primarily due to the age of the processor.

Microsoft's statement indicates slowdowns could be more substantial than Intel has indicated.

"I understand that making the machine unbootable is the best protection from remote exploitation, but I would rather have the OS working", AMD PC user Jaroslav Škarvada said in a forum posting.

Microsoft said on Tuesday that it was suspending a security update after it was found to be freezing PCs.

Intel was down about 0.6% before the blog post, and is trading about 1.65% lower after.

Unless users have created a restore point for Windows, it is not possible to roll back the installation to an earlier version of the operating system without the patch installed.

Windows users are still encouraged to apply all security updates. It also shows the challenge of patching such widespread hardware flaws.

The update, which was quickly pushed out by Microsoft to patch the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerability discovered last week, has left some users unable to boot up their machines. Between software patches and the differences in AMD's microarchitectures compared to its rivals, the company's chips are largely immune to the so-called "speculative execution" vulnerabilities, AMD claimed. With the update applied, your computer could perform certain tasks much slower than in the past. Security updates for affected computers will resume after it's fixed. Older personal computers, as well as those running the Windows Server operating system, can expect "more significant slowdowns", according to Microsoft.

The greatest noticeable impact will be on the server computers that underpin corporate data centers and systems in cases where customers store their data in house, Microsoft said. Regardless, Microsoft says on Skylake or newer chips "Intel has refined the instructions used to disable branch speculation to be more specific to indirect branches, reducing the overall performance penalty of the Spectre mitigation".

AMD and Intel were not immediately available for further comment. Attackers could potentially buy space on a vulnerable cloud service and use it to stage an attack against other customers using the same host.

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