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  • Are Windows customers getting Meltdown/Spectre bullied into buying new computers?

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Are Windows customers getting Meltdown/Spectre bullied into buying new computers?

    This topic contains 56 replies, has 28 voices, and was last updated by  Fred 1 year, 3 months ago.

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    • #187095 Reply

      woody
      Da Boss

      Just got this from @dportenlanger: I think Windows users are getting snubbed. I have an old Clarksfield processor that Intel will not be updating via
      [See the full post at: Are Windows customers getting Meltdown/Spectre bullied into buying new computers?]

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #187098 Reply

      Microfix
      Da Boss

      Nothing surprises me, I think he’s onto something.

      I’ve said it before, the ailing PC market needed a kickstart and I think this it!

      FUD rules apparently!

      ********** Win7 x64/x86 | Win8.1 x64 | Linux Hybrids x64 **********

      4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #187099 Reply

      radosuaf
      AskWoody Lounger

      Does anybody buy a new computer due to Meltdown/Spectre? I didn’t even care to patch my Windows :). Still on 2017-12 rollup.

      MSI H110 PC MATE * Intel Core i5-6402P * 2 x 8 GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2133 MHz * Aorus Radeon RX 570 4GB * Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD * Western Digital Blue 1TB HDD * Seagate Barracuda 1TB HDD * DVD RW Lite-ON iHAS 124 * Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer PCI * Windows 10 Pro 1809 64-bit
      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #187103 Reply

      anonymous

      https://www.zdnet.com/article/intel-we-now-wont-ever-patch-spectre-variant-2-flaw-in-these-chips/ (4 April 2018)

      Seems, BIG Corps like to “bully” small fries or a minority of users. If only legal-aid groups similar to the liberal ACLU would take up such “minority” cases and sue Intel.

      Affected users should upgrade to AMD processors and Linux or MacOS = ‘vote’ with your wallet.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #187108 Reply

      Microfix
      Da Boss

      Q: Are MS in colaboration with intel to regress older hardware and OSes in order to buy new PC’s with the new improved OS W10?

      Who gains from all this FUD?

      It’s for you to decide but, these are BIG questions in my mind given the circumstances. I’m sticking with W8.1 on it’s hardware ’till 2023.

      ********** Win7 x64/x86 | Win8.1 x64 | Linux Hybrids x64 **********

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #187124 Reply

        HiFlyer
        AskWoody Lounger

        Q: Are MS in colaboration with intel to regress older hardware and OSes in order to buy new PC’s with the new improved OS W10?

        Who gains from all this FUD?

        It’s for you to decide but, these are BIG questions in my mind given the circumstances. I’m sticking with W8.1 on it’s hardware ’till 2023.

        Win8.1 next target after Win7 “support” ends in 2020?

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #187125 Reply

          radosuaf
          AskWoody Lounger

          Actually, Intel 6th generation and newer are promised to be supported until end of August this year on W8.1, I think, so in theory it might be much sooner…

          BTW, is this block still working on Win 7?

          MSI H110 PC MATE * Intel Core i5-6402P * 2 x 8 GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2133 MHz * Aorus Radeon RX 570 4GB * Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD * Western Digital Blue 1TB HDD * Seagate Barracuda 1TB HDD * DVD RW Lite-ON iHAS 124 * Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer PCI * Windows 10 Pro 1809 64-bit
        • #187154 Reply

          WildBill
          AskWoody Plus

          Q: Are MS in colaboration with intel to regress older hardware and OSes in order to buy new PC’s with the new improved OS W10? Who gains from all this FUD? It’s for you to decide but, these are BIG questions in my mind given the circumstances. I’m sticking with W8.1 on it’s hardware ’till 2023.

          Win8.1 next target after Win7 “support” ends in 2020?

          I wouldn’t be surprised, even though there are less Win8.1 machines than Win7. Windows 7 extended support ends in less than 2 years, & Windows 8.1 has 3 years after that. Woody says Windows 10 (mostly) works good, but even He’s frustrated at Win10’s buggy patches & clandestine attempts to upgrade Win10 to the next version. Especially when Win10’s OWN settings should prevent it! As for the clusterfork Win7 users has been suffering over the last 4 months, I can’t think that Microsoft will leave Win8.1 users alone for 3 years after Win7 expires. No matter how fewer users there are left… BTW, Microsoft has less than 2 years to stabilize Win10 to MY satisfaction. I’m researching Linux distros & it’s not hard to find the Apple Store nearest to me.

          Windows 8.1, 64-bit, now in Group B!
          Wild Bill Rides Again...

          6 users thanked author for this post.
    • #187106 Reply

      anonymous

      I ended up disabling both Meltdown and Spectre protections via InSpectre on my HP 8570w (Windows 8.1 Pro Group A) because the performance drop was too great. I was noticing the system grinding to a halt for several seconds during normal use but it hasn’t happened once since disabling them. Seems I’ll have to just go without and maybe reconsider if an exploit is found.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #187111 Reply

      Carl D
      AskWoody Lounger

      As I’ve mentioned once or twice before I have a 12 year old HP laptop which originally came with Windows XP then upgraded to a solid state drive and Windows 7 a couple of years ago.

      It has an Intel T2050 at 1.60GHz and I am certain it will never see anything from Intel or Microsoft to protect against Meltdown or Spectre.

      Nowadays, the laptop runs a fully up to date (including kernel) Linux Mint 18.3 and I’ve just run a script that checks for Meltdown and Spectre vulnerability. It is no longer vulnerable to Spectre variants 1 and 2 but still vulnerable to ‘Meltdown’ aka ‘Variant 3’ and it tells me to get the latest kernel available. As I don’t like being on the ‘cutting edge’ when it comes to Linux kernels I think I can wait until to fix becomes available via the normal update process.

      If Linux is able to fix these vulnerabilities for older processors (and without borking your computer) why can’t Microsoft do it – especially with Windows 7?

      4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #187444 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        As I don’t like being on the ‘cutting edge’ when it comes to Linux kernels I think I can wait until to fix becomes available via the normal update process.

        Carl,

        I am not sure of all of the details, but as far as I know, the various fixes for all of these things were backported to kernels 4.4 and 4.13 by Ubuntu (upstream from Mint, of course).  If you are still using the 4.10 kernel that came with Mint 18.3, you could switch to the latest revision of one of those and still not be on the “bleeding edge.”  4.13 is in its 39th revision now, and 4.4 is in version 131.  Any bugs introduced by the backporting should be long gone by now, or at least I would hope so.

        Personally, I am not intimidated by new kernels in Linux; they’re very easy to switch around, and if it ends up being a problem (which it never has so far for me), I just remove that kernel and go back to using the old one.  You can have as many kernels as you like installed at once and select which one you want to use at boot time (via the advanced options menu).  If Windows was able to switch kernels and desktop environments around like Linux, a lot of us would be a lot happier with it!

        I’m using the recently added (to Ubuntu and derivatives) 4.15 kernel revision, which is still a couple of versions behind the cutting edge (4.17, I think).  So far, so good!  I understand that the kernel devs have done some work in 4.15 to mitigate the speed loss from the Meltdown and Spectre fixes, so that the performance between previous kernels without the fix and 4.15 with the fix should be about the same.  It also seems to have fixed a seemingly unrelated bug in Cinnamon, where some desktop icons (like the trash can, in my setup) migrate one step upward each time you log in if you have desktop grid enabled.  They stopped doing it as soon as 4.15 was installed, and here I thought it was going to take waiting for the new Cinnamon version in Mint 19 to get rid of the annoying but ultimately harmless bug.

         

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.16.4).

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #187626 Reply

          Bill C.
          AskWoody Plus

          Kernal 4.13.0-39-generic #44~16.04.1 was offered by Linux Mint 18.3 LTS back in March and marked Level 4. I held off for a while but installed it on the Lenovo Thinkpad T420 (i7-2620M) and also the Intel and Linux firmware (also Level 4) patches with no issues. Lenovo has released a version 2.27 BIOS for that laptop, and other model Thinkpad devices. I have not updated the BIOS/UEFI on the T420

          I have updated my E440 Thinkpad Edge (i5-4210M) Win7Pro-64 Laptop to UEFI 2.27 and it has the Spectre/Meltdown fixes and did slow down noticeably on some tasks.

          Under Mint you will need to make a bootable CD or Thumbdrive to install the BIOS/UEFI.

    • #187110 Reply

      anonymous

      Erm… No. There is no microcode update for that CPU. That “This download is valid for the product(s) listed below” section is completely useless and should be removed from the page. It refers to the microcode package/tarball as a whole, not any particular versions of it.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #187116 Reply

        Pim
        AskWoody Plus

        THIS is the answer. I looked into a similar question a couple of months ago. The microcode package includes all microcodes for the mentioned processors, but it does not mean they all are recent or updated. In my case, when I looked at the microcode release from last January, the microcode for the Penryn generation included in that package was from 2009. The release date from the package does not mean a thing, you’ve got to look deeper than that.

        4 users thanked author for this post.
        • #187146 Reply

          woody
          Da Boss

          I think you’re on to something here….

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #187360 Reply

          Freeco
          AskWoody Lounger

          I agree. The 20180312 version of the microcode pack does not contain the microcodes to mitigate Spectre on all the listed CPUs. I’ve tried it with the VMware CPU Microcode Update driver last week on Ivy Bridge, Lynnfield and Sandy Bridge desktops. They were still vulnerable.
          I do hope Intel will still put the new microcodes for all CPU’s up to Nehalem on the download site (as per their latest Microcode Revision Guidance from earlier this month, they should be ready), as MSI and Asus tech support have already told me they wouldn’t release new BIOS updates for their boards older than Skylake.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #187382 Reply

          Bill C.
          AskWoody Plus

          At one point Intel came right out and said on the website that the Bloomfield generation of 17 CPU would NOT get the updated fireware. I linked to it, but the link is now dead and/or behind a closed firewall. In fact the entire spread sheet showing the status of the update categories for all the CPU families and IDs, such as being researched, in alpha, in beta, released, etc. is now gone.

          • #187389 Reply

            Bill C.
            AskWoody Plus

            I found the sheet!!!

            https://newsroom.intel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/11/2018/04/microcode-update-guidance.pdf

            Thanks to ZDNet https://www.zdnet.com/article/intel-we-now-wont-ever-patch-spectre-variant-2-flaw-in-these-chips/

            Big thanks to JohnW and others whos posts allowed my to “refind” it.

            3 users thanked author for this post.
            • #187488 Reply

              dportenlanger
              AskWoody Lounger

              All of you are correct.  Intel will not be patching older CPUs per the list linked by BillC.  I expected CVE-2017-5715 to always be vulnerable as it is on the many Windows machines my team is flashing.  If I run Inspectre from Gibson research on Windows, it always shows CVE-2017-5715 is vulnerable.  Then, I flash the BIOS and rerun Inspectre again at it says the PC is mitigated.

              Because I was able to run the Linux checker linked in various portions of this thread on machines that will not be patched, imagine my dismay when it reported a machine that is surely vulnerable to CVE-2017-5715 is flagged as Not Vulnerable.  How is this possible?  I started looking for potential reasons.

              Further research on Intel’s documents indicated that legacy processors (that BillC listed) were included as part of the Linux microcode fixes when, in fact, they are not at all.

              It appears CVE-2017-5715 is vulnerable to elderly computers or computers that manufacturers won’t patch.

              However, it appears on the surface that Linux developers are doing all they can to protect users of legacy machines or machines manufacturers have decided not to patch.  I can find no evidence that Microsoft is employing similar techniques, though maybe another expert here has more information.

              The man hours lost updating firmware can never be recovered.  Despite the lack of malware so far, I would be negligent if I didn’t flash every computer I am responsible for.  I also feel Intel and Microsoft are being negligent by refusing to mitigate every vulnerable computer.

              Therefore, I am inclined to advise users to run Linux if your PC cannot be mitigated or replaced.

              Microsoft/Intel:  Please feel free to chime in with facts as everything that started this thread was speculative, but for good reason.

               

              1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #187115 Reply

      The Surfing Pensioner
      AskWoody Plus

      Wot, new computers boasting Win. 10? M/S wouldn’t do that, would they?

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #187130 Reply

      anonymous

      But…the new computers are vulnerable too…can’t be a conspiracy theory then?

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #187247 Reply

        anonymous

        Newer computers aren’t “as affected” speedwise.  Also AMD processors aren’t affected by Meltdown, just Spectre which is an easier fix.

        If patches slow down PCs to the point where they’re unusable (think low-end or mid-end laptops that are a couple years old) then it forces consumers to get off of Win7/Win8 and buy a new shiny (low-end or mid-end) Win10 laptop.  Note that “Ultrabooks” are basically low to mid-end laptops, so your $1,000 Surface Pro 2 might need replacing.

    • #187144 Reply

      anonymous

      (the 2c probably wont pass the mods here – modify delete or reject as you see fit)

      So? it still comes down to $$$ and K.O.N.T.R.O.L.
      Hmmmm . . .
      what is a coporation/business w/o moral and ethics? humanity-centred policy?
      Is the customer/user still in the clssification of a customer/user?
      Or we have been moved into animal herding business?
      are we in the social-experimantal zoo or meat-processing factory???

      HA 😀
      Trust “US” 😀 they say we give you free upgrade!!!

      be safe ppl
      back to fishing for better dreams

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #187155 Reply

      dportenlanger
      AskWoody Lounger

      My point is simply this.  If SpecCheck says you are not vulnerable to any of the three specex variants, either the SpecCheck is wrong or Intel and Microsoft have made the decision to leave systems vulnerable, which is negligent and irresponsible, even if the likelihood of an issue is near zero.

      I would suggest that if Linux can mitigate all three variants, Windows can too.  I have tested three different machines.

      1. Lenovo G700 which will have no firmware update.
      2. Lenovo W701 which Intel pulled the firmware update.
      3. Toshiba Satellite which is the oldest spare machine I can test.

      All three pass SpecCheck as noted by Ascaris.

      Does this mean that those of us who have to administrate hundreds of Windows machines could have been spared the CVE-2017-5715 firmware updates?  Microsoft is pushing out microcode for some processors.

      Is there some architecture difference between Windows and Linux that will reopen the Linux is more secure than Windows debate?

      Are Intel and Microsoft leaving older machines vulnerable on purpose?

      Does specheck need an update because it is misreporting?

      Is using one of the three variants to exploit a machine so difficult and unlikely that it isn’t worth protecting every machine?

      I am no expert, but I feel it is important to understand the issues and the exposure to make informed decisions

       

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #187163 Reply

      anonymous

      Linux looks to have multiple ways to mitigate the vulnerabilities.

      1.  Microcode+Kernel (same as Windows)

      2.  Retpoline an in Kernel software mitigation- Microcode not required (Intel and AMD only)

      3.  Individual software application/driver mitigations

      https://wiki.ubuntu.com/SecurityTeam/KnowledgeBase/SpectreAndMeltdown

      https://wiki.ubuntu.com/SecurityTeam/KnowledgeBase/SpectreAndMeltdown/TechFAQ#Retpoline

    • #187177 Reply

      Jan K.
      AskWoody Lounger

      … I believe this is why Linux users are secure and Windows users are getting bullied (sorry, I hate that word, how about “marketed”) into new computers.

      Based upon partly what Microsoft has pushed/forced/offered onto my pc and partly the fact that the only problems I’ve ever had with my setup has all come from Microsoft, I find it totally acceptable to use the word “bullied”… some of the “marketed” stuff certainly had me left feeling bullied.

      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #187431 Reply

        Cascadian
        AskWoody Lounger

        I’ll go a step further. This is not what Jan K. said, not putting words on Jan K., just using the comment as a step off point.

        It is abuse.

        It is one of the defining characteristics of an abusive relationship. No means no. Ignoring a plain declaration of noncompliance and having your own way in a relationship is called abuse.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #187553 Reply

        dportenlanger
        AskWoody Lounger

        With upgrades we didn’t ask for, apps we didn’t want, administrative capability that was removed and telemetry we can’t see, here is an extreme example.

        How Microsoft helped imprison a man for ‘counterfeiting’ software it gives away for free

        Feel free to comment.

        3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #187190 Reply

      MrJimPhelps
      AskWoody_MVP

      If Linux is protected and Windows is vulnerable, would it not be safe to run Linux as your host OS, and run Windows in a VM inside of the Linux host? Doing this would prevent Windows from interacting directly with the machine’s hardware, which should protect from any of this type of Windows vulnerabilities.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #187324 Reply

        Elrod
        AskWoody Plus

        To me, this seems like not only a safe way to manage Windows, but a prudent one provided one backs up one’s VM.  If the VM is subsequently compromised, either through malware or “malupdates” from Microsoft, you could restore an earlier version of the VM and not be faced with the onerous task of rebuilding your entire Windows installation from scratch.  Since the VM is essentially running as a separate layer, it would not have direct access to the hardware, so it would not seem to me to be vulnerable to Meltdown/Spectre issues.

        I’m basing this mainly on questions asked elsewhere where people with this setup are trying to play games that have not been ported to Linux, so they’re playing them within a Windows VM.  They’re asking e.g. how do you get good graphics performance within a VM.  The answer is you don’t, because the VM isolates the game from direct interaction with all the processor goodness that the game is attempting to utilize.  Any 3D-like performance has to be simulated by the VM.

        Group "L": Linux Mint

        3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #187227 Reply

      NetDef
      AskWoody_MVP

      It’s my opinion that you cannot buy a NEW “WinTel” computer TODAY that is fully and properly protected at the appropriate level, which is to say at the hardware level, in the CPU itself.  We don’t get those until later this year . . .  maybe not even by then.

      Everything that’s on current or recent release is vulnerable without software or BIOS patches, and for me that’s a deal breaker. Until Intel releases fully fixed CPU’s, my clients and I are on emergency replacement status only for new workstations.

      ~ Group "Weekend" ~

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #187244 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Plus

      The answer so far is probably yes, if you need a new computer to run Windows 10 1709.

      That is because so far the MS microcode patch is only for the latest version of Windows.  And even that only covers some of the latest CPUs that Intel has provided microcode fixes listed in production.  Intel’s list is longer than Microsoft’s list.

      KB409007 MS patched CPU list (mostly 4th-8th gen Core): https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4090007/intel-microcode-updates

      Intel microcode list: https://newsroom.intel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/11/2018/03/microcode-update-guidance.pdf

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #187253 Reply

      JLamede
      AskWoody Lounger

      On an admittedly smaller scale, I’ve had a similar experience. I had a Level 2 Microsoft tech supervisor insist (and, boy, do I mean ‘insist’ — he was very well trained in hard-sell tactics!) on the phone that the very serious problems I was having with Fall Creators upgrades/updates (two catastrophic OS failures in December 2017 and February 2018) were nothing to do with Microsoft but entirely down to my hardware. Once I finally contacted Lenovo, ran their online tests, got them to confirm that my laptop was wholly compatible with current Windows upgrades, and sent the evidence to him, the guy fell totally silent. In any case, I understood Microsoft’s business model since day one has been to make sure all hardware, old or new (the obvious big exception, Mac, notwithstanding) used their OS. Not so?

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #187254 Reply

      Geo
      AskWoody Plus

      Yes, they are getting mad because they know 7 is superior to 10 for home users who are the backbone of  desktop users and won’t  move to 10 no matter what they do.  Between Askwoody mvp’s and Steve  Gibson expert in keeping XP running long after MS support was stopped ;  7 users will  find a way to keep operating .

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #187303 Reply

      Elly
      AskWoody MVP

      Better question:

      “Are long time Windows users jumping to Linux distros in order to find better Spector/Meltdown protection and continue to use their existing hardware?”

      or

      “Will more Windows users migrate to smart-phones for e-mail and browsing, in order to avoid Spector/Meltdown vulnerabilities not patched by Microsoft and Intel and do their computing off-line?

      There is a huge market for used computers, that is not likely to go away. If anything, as more prosperous people ditch their impaired processors (like any currently existing ones, until the new ones promised by Intel arrive), there will be a huge secondary market for those used machines. People will either use them in ignorance, or because they simply don’t have the financial resources to get anything else, and see impaired and unsafe access better than no access to computing and the internet. There will be a lot of unofficial fixes, and malware presented as fixes, if Microsoft and Intel don’t get real, functional fixes out there… and machines that aren’t fixed will be running  more, not less, malware, making the internet less safe for everyone. I can see people choosing impaired, refurbished/used systems over lightweight, downgraded ‘replacements’ with W10 and Microsoft’s control and telemetry. There was a side benefit to GWX… many kids and non-profits that would otherwise not have access to computers, were given the ones that had problems with W10, when people bought new, rather than fix… and those kids and people made them work for them. Maybe this is a boon to the less computer endowed… and they will be likely to protect themselves by putting a Linux distro on them, or surfing with Tails from a usb stick, or some other solution yet to be discovered… but those millions of old computers aren’t going to just vanish… and the malware hasn’t even gotten started…

      Win 7 Home, 64 bit, Group B

      5 users thanked author for this post.
      • #187336 Reply

        Elrod
        AskWoody Plus

        Definitely better questions.  I would say the answer to both questions is Yes, Absolutely.

        I started using Windows in the 3.11 for Workgroups time frame.  I am now running Linux Mint on my primary machine.  And if all I need to do is check eMail, I do that on my smartphone.  I don’t think my Windows skills will atrophy any time soon, since it is still in use at work and I still support people who use it, but it is nice to flex my Linux muscles as well.

        Group "L": Linux Mint

        2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #187376 Reply

      Bill C.
      AskWoody Plus

      Nothing surprises me, I think he’s onto something.

      I’ve said it before, the ailing PC market needed a kickstart and I think this it!

      FUD rules apparently!

      THe old nickname of Wintel was not for nothing!

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #187398 Reply

      Bill C.
      AskWoody Plus

      I have not seen Intel microcode update for my processor windows 8.1–but have installed microcode update for Linux–was vulnerable before update–now these results:
      Linux Mint 18.3-Kernel is Linux 4.13.0-39-generic #44~16.04.1
      CPU is Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-3630QM CPU @ 2.40GHz
      CPU vulnerability to the three speculative execution attack variants
      * Vulnerable to Variant 1: YES
      * Vulnerable to Variant 2: YES
      * Vulnerable to Variant 3: YES
      Spectre Variant 1:STATUS: NOT VULNERABLE (Mitigation: OSB (observable speculation barrier, Intel v6))
      Spectre Variant 2:STATUS: NOT VULNERABLE (Full retpoline + IBPB are mitigating the vulnerability)
      Meltdown’ aka ‘Variant 3:STATUS: NOT VULNERABLE (Mitigation: PTI)

      What tool did you use to check vulnerabilities under Linux?
      Thanks
      Bill C.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #187401 Reply

      ve2mrx
      AskWoody Plus

      If Linux is protected and Windows is vulnerable, would it not be safe to run Linux as your host OS, and run Windows in a VM inside of the Linux host? Doing this would prevent Windows from interacting directly with the machine’s hardware, which should protect from any of this type of Windows vulnerabilities.

      Er, the CPU is running all of this, so, it would still be exploitable? Or could one OS update the CPU microcode for all OSes?

      The way I understand virtualization, one guest OS cannot pass code to another OS, but the hinge point is the CPU, which is vulnerable here..?

      Martin

    • #187453 Reply

      PerthMike
      AskWoody Lounger

      I fully agree and have held this view for a while now.

      It’s also yet another avenue for Microsoft to get rid of older PCs with 7/8.x Windows and get them into the shiny new world of continuous revenue that is Windows As A Shafting (I mean, Service).

      I’ve said it before, the ol’ 2952664 Free Windows campaign may be over in that form, but that doesn’t mean Microsoft isn’t trying to force people onto the new OS by other means. The dropoff rate of Windows 7 is so low that by the 2020 deadline, there’ll be so many boxes left in the corporate world, Microsoft will be forced to continue to provide updates or face a revolt. If, by hook or by crook, it can force these Windows 7/8.x installs to be broken by other means, Microsoft and chip/PC makers will do everything to encourage the buying of new PCs to ensure that.

      No matter where you go, there you are.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #187611 Reply

      Noel Carboni
      AskWoody_MVP

      Sadly, reading through this thread I wonder whether we’re already to the point where everyone just accepts that they NEED Spectre and Meltdown mitigations… You know, those supposed fixes for a hypothetical “security problem” that doesn’t actually exist in the wild? The “vulnerability” that the manufacturers told the bad guys how to implement exploits for? The fixes that introduce an even worse vulnerability?

      I just objectively measured the impacts of this year’s Windows Updates on a Windows 7 system (see this article).

      I measured literally HORRENDOUS performance impacts just by installing them, and not just that but these slowdowns manifest in specific ways that would make them most irritating.

      Beyond slowing down disk access to roughly half what it was, which would make a system sluggish to respond, the desktop user interface display was literally HAMMERED by the patches. How are they getting away with this?!?

      How many people even know that there are registry entries provided by Microsoft to turn the worst of the mitigations back off again? And those who do use those settings, presumably so that everything else is patched up, will find they don’t get ALL their performance back.

      Steve Gibson has provided a nice little tool, InSpectre, that can provide easy access to the mitigation disabling settings, but even with a handy tool not everyone feels comfortable tweaking their OS.

      I’m sorry but given their ACTIONS in 2018, it would be hard not to imagine that Microsoft is doing whatever they can to make our older systems seem less desirable because they are actually less functional.

      So yeah, not just Marketed toward Windows 10 but Technically Shoved as well.

      Funny thing, though… It’s so obvious with anyone with technical savvy that they’re doing this that it’s given me LESS DESIRE THAN EVER to move to Windows 10.

      I have systems that will not be advanced past December 2017 patch levels, simply because patching has ceased to provide a positive return on investment.

      -Noel

      6 users thanked author for this post.
      • #187724 Reply

        wdburt1
        AskWoody Plus

        I agree.  The risk-reward ratio has been upside down since the end of 2017.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #187798 Reply

      Fred
      AskWoody Lounger

      For what I have seen on my pc’s, not too old, is that there is NO WAY of stopping these pushed patches! They are just installing, in spite of all settings!!!  Is this service, or what?  NOTHING TO TELL ANYMORE, just pushed to follow the mainstream.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #187047 Reply

      dportenlanger
      AskWoody Lounger

      Myself and several other people have several computers that will not have BIOS updates from Intel or from the manufacturer.  One machine I have is an Ivy Bridge machine, but Lenovo doesn’t have the model listed as eligible.  The other is much older but has a 4 core 8 thread Extreme processor that was abandoned but still runs great.

      What I discovered was running Meltdown/Spectre check scripts on Linux (Ubuntu in my case) seems shows that my older machines are not vulnerable to Meltdown or Spectre.  So Linux must have done something in the boot process that loads microcode to foil Meltdown and both variants of Spectre.

      I am curious whether others have found this to be the case and is it a possible solution to save these machines from the scrap bin.  If this is the case, would running Linux with Windows OS and applications running in a VM (if Windows is needed) keep the older but powerful hardware operational?

      5 users thanked author for this post.
    • #187102 Reply

      radosuaf
      AskWoody Lounger

      There you go:

      https://forums.guru3d.com/threads/windows-how-to-get-latest-cpu-microcode-without-modding-the-bios.418806/

      MSI H110 PC MATE * Intel Core i5-6402P * 2 x 8 GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2133 MHz * Aorus Radeon RX 570 4GB * Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD * Western Digital Blue 1TB HDD * Seagate Barracuda 1TB HDD * DVD RW Lite-ON iHAS 124 * Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer PCI * Windows 10 Pro 1809 64-bit
      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #187137 Reply

      Ascaris
      AskWoody_MVP

      The microcode included in the March 2018 update from Intel for your CPU, dportenlanger, with CPUID 106E5, is dated 8-20-2013.  Sorry, but yours (like the one in my laptop, which I upgraded to just to be able to get the update, as it is no faster than its predecessor) appears to be one of the ones Intel promised to fix, then decided not to because of “customer feedback” (“Please, Intel, don’t provide an update for us!”  — Said no one ever?  Just having the update exist doesn’t mean you have to use it, so I cannot imagine anyone asking Intel not to do it.)

      EDIT: More info added after I tried the script you mentioned (presumably it is the same script) on my own old laptop, in Linux Mint 18.3 x64 with kernel 4.15.0-15:

      Running the script on my old laptop (Penryn C2D) reports first the hardware vulnerabilities:

      Vulnerable to Variant 1: YES

      Vulnerable to Variant 2: YES

      Vulnerable to Variant 3: YES

      Clearly, this PC does not have the updated microcode (which I think addresses only Spectre v1).  However, it goes on to report that the system (as opposed to the hardware alone) is not vulnerable to any of the three, with the reasons as:

      Spectre Variant 1: NOT VULNERABLE (Mitigation: __user pointer sanitization)

      Spectre Variant 2: NOT VULNERABLE (Mitigation: Full retpoline is mitigating the vulnerability)

      Meltdown aka ‘Variant 3’: NOT VULNERABLE (Mitigation: PTI)

      Perhaps this is what you’re seeing.

      I can provide the full text of the report if anyone wants; I have omitted it here for brevity.

      Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.16.4).

      7 users thanked author for this post.
    • #187612 Reply

      Noel Carboni
      AskWoody_MVP

      What’s interesting is that I applied a Dell BIOS update to a Haswell-based system last night, and found my performance wasn’t negatively impacted at all. In fact a couple of things actually got marginally faster.

      It took installing the Windows Updates to really kill the performance.

      -Noel

    • #187121 Reply

      Pim
      AskWoody Plus

      This is a very widespread misunderstanding related to Spectre. The VMware CPU microcode update driver cannot be used for resolving the Spectre bug, because the program loads the new microcode too late for Windows. Read a.o. the forum associated with the VMware CPU microcode update drive. Because the new microcode is loaded too late to be recognized by Windows, Windows does not adapt its behavior and the computer is still vulnerable to Spectre.

      5 users thanked author for this post.
    • #187235 Reply

      EP
      AskWoody_MVP

      indeed.

      For the latest summary of Intel microcode updates from Microsoft, see MS KB article 4093836:
      https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4093836/summary-of-intel-microcode-updates

      There’s even an Intel Microcode update KB4091666 from MS for Win10 RTM/1507, which was made available yesterday but who really uses the RTM release of Win10 lately?
      The new Intel microcode updates for almost all releases of Win10 (except 1511) now include Broadwell & Haswell CPUs.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #187369 Reply

      Freeco
      AskWoody Lounger

      Worth keeping an eye for more updates. Hopefully MS keeps on adding older architectures, up to Nehalem. The microcodes for them should be available.

    • #187399 Reply

      Bill C.
      AskWoody Plus

      Here is the list as of April 11, 2018. Some, in red, will never get updates.

      https://newsroom.intel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/11/2018/04/microcode-update-guidance.pdf

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #187439 Reply

      anonymous

      Well that’s interesting.  It looks like a lot of the low-end Nehalem are going to receive microcode updates, but not the “Enthusiast” class.  Wonder why.

    • #187636 Reply

      Bill C.
      AskWoody Plus

      My unofficial, and personal answer is how many “enthusiasts” flog on an old i7-960 Bloomfield CPU on an Intel DX58SO2 MB for 8 years? I am, but that is only because it still works well for me as a gaming box for my games and for productivity and image editing software. Those Intel boards were fussy about memory, but with decent memory it has been incredibly stable even on minor overclocks (it is now back to stock).

      Most enthusiasts want the fastest and newest. A newer board and CPU would smoke this setup, and run far cooler and use less power.

      I upgrade or get/build a new PC or OS when they will no longer do what I want. This hardware and Win7Pro-64 still work for me. Bad thing for me it that when I discovered Linux, I could resurrect the old PCs and extend their lifetime as useful backup appliances, or as the spouse says – clutter. I still have a Dell XPS Pentium 4 XP box that is offline for playing some old games.

      The Spectre/Meltdown issue is a concern, but not a panic. However, I am starting a new build that will address those issue as well as provide hardware and OS usability upgrades sooner rather than when the first reports of an exploit in the wild cause a panic.

      1 user thanked author for this post.

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