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Microsoft Issues Details of How Meltdown and Spectre Slows Down PCs – and Which Ones Are Most Affected

For the past week, Microsoft has been battling with ways to bombard the newly revealed computer security flaws – Meltdown and Spectre. And now they’re back with a solution.

The tech giants have come up with detailed updates of how the two security flaws may affect the performance of computers, and the news is not such good news, especially for older computers. People using modern machines with an updated version of Windows 10 will not notice any significant slowdown effect.

Windows 7 and 8 users will notice a massive slowdown in your computer immediately after installing the security patches. You might want to compare security and performance and decide which one you love most.

Microsoft says that computers using the Intel Haswell processors and older will feel the most intense impact on the performance of their machines after the series of the firmware updates made to fight the Spectre CPU security threat.

According to Microsoft, the security updates will affect computers depending on the task the PC is performing, and how old it is. Microsoft’s report shows that most benchmarks we’ve seen on news updates have no OS and silicone updates in them.

Microsoft Chief Terry Myerson said on a blog post that computers running on Kaby Lake, Skylake and new processors would have a single-digit showdown, and, according to the company, users will not be able to notice the change.

Terry Myerson further explains that users with Windows 10 running on older Haswell processors and users with older Windows 7 and 8 will notice quite a significant change in their PC performance, as computers will slow down after installing the security updates.

Windows 7 and 8 will be hit harder than Windows 10 because they have a feature called Kernel-level font rendering that will be profoundly affected by the removal of the Meltdown and Spectre security flaws.

microsoft, meltdown, spectre
updating the Security patch on Windows 7 & 8 will significantly slow down the Computer’s performance

Microsoft says that Intel has fine-tuned the instructions used to disable branch speculations on Skylake and newer processors to be much more specific to secondary branches resulting to reduced performance issue brought about by the removal of the Spectre security flaw.

Microsoft issued an unexpected warning to Microsoft server users to choose between performance and security. According to the company, any Microsoft server running on any silicon, and especially with an I/O task intensive, will be intensely affected when you enable the security updates to isolate untrusted codes on your server.

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If your server is running managed codes and not connected to browsers, it will be save for you avoid the security updates. However, that poses a short-term risk and the potential of having to avoid running security updates in the future.

The available firmware updates, according to Microsoft, can protect your computer from Spectre variant 2. The company has isolated kernel and user mode page tables and updated the Edge and Internet Explorer browsers to protect machines from JavaScript exploits using Spectre Variant 1 and Meltdown.

Windows have updated 41 of their editions and now expects to patch the remaining four versions soon.

Microsoft is being frank about all the issues surrounding Meltdown and Spectre, and you know why. Apple faced several lawsuits for intentionally slowing down older phones. And Microsoft is apparently avoiding customers blaming them for slowing down their older machines.

We’re still waiting to receive detailed reports from other browser service providers like Google and Apple about how the security updates affect the performance of Androids and Macs.

microsoft, meltdown, spectre

Muthami Nzilili