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Microsoft Unveils Emergency Windows Update That Disables Intel’s Spectre Fix

January 30, 2018, 12:00 AM UTC

Microsoft has released an emergency update to its Windows operating system that it said would disable an earlier patch from Intel that was intended to secure computers that are vulnerable to a recently disclosed security flaw known as Spectre.

Microsoft said this weekend that its new update for Windows 10 and some older Windows versions would eliminate problems caused by Intel’s previous software update that could accidentally damage data on some computers. In an online posting about its update, Microsoft (MSFT) went to the unusual length of pointing to Intel’s recent earnings report that acknowledged that its recent security update could result in “data loss or corruption.”

Prior to its fourth-quarter earnings report, Intel (INTC) said that security patches it had released for both Spectre and the separate Meltdown chip bugs could cause some computers to suddenly reboot or undergo “unpredictable” behavior. The company apologized for the mishap, told customers to not install the updates, and said that it was working on new fixes.

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Microsoft said tests of Intel’s latest Spectre-related patch confirmed that the update indeed caused some data to be destroyed under “some circumstances.” The company recommended that customers install the new Windows update if they “are running an impacted device,” meaning their computers are automatically rebooting more frequently than usual or are exhibiting other strange behaviors.