Microsoft’s latest Windows 10 patch will address Spectre Variant 2 CPU flaw

Microsoft now provides a new manual update for Windows 10 devices based on sixth-generation Intel processors. It addresses the Spectre Variant 2 flaw in these CPUs, which could give hackers access to sensitive information if they have direct contact with the device. The fix is specifically for Windows 10 version 1709 (Fall Creators Update) and Windows Server version 1709 (Server Core). 

The update applies to most Intel sixth-generation processors in the mainstream market: High-performance desktop chips (S), high-performance mobile chips (H), low-power mobile CPUs (U), ultra-low-power chips in tablets (Y), and those that fall under Intel’s Skylake-U32e umbrella. You can determine the generation of your CPU by the number following the hyphen in its name, such as the “6” in the Core i7-6820HK laptop CPU. 

The manual Windows 10 update arrives after Intel issued revised updates addressing the Meltdown and Spectre exploits uncovered by Google Project Zero. The company began rolling out fixes in December 2017 just before the exploits when live, but Intel soon pulled the distributions based on reports of incompatibility and frequent system reboots. 

In addition to addressing security issues in sixth-generation CPUs, Intel newest update also attacks Meltdown and Spectre on seventh-generation (Kaby Lake) and eighth-generation (Coffee Lake) chips. That includes the company’s Core-branded processors, the massive Core-X chips, Xeon Scalable CPUs, and the Xeon D processors. But Microsoft’s manual update only applies to sixth-generation chips. 

“This update is a standalone update available through the Microsoft Update Catalog,” the company says. “This update also includes Intel microcode updates that were already released for these Operating Systems at the time of Release To Manufacturing (RTM). We will offer additional microcode updates from Intel thru this KB Article for these Operating Systems as they become available to Microsoft.” 

Typically, device owners can grab the Meltdown and Spectra updates in three ways: through motherboard manufacturers and device manufacturers like Dell and HP, and through Microsoft via Windows Update. For the former two, refreshed firmware updates the processor with new microcode. Meanwhile, Windows does something similar as it boots the device. 

But in this case, Microsoft makes the Spectre patch available through the Microsoft Update Catalog for a wide, manual distribution across multiple Windows 10 devices. There are two patches provided by Microsoft, one of which is designed for x64-based systems. After installation, you may be required to start your PC. 

Previously, Microsoft issued an update for Spectre Variant 2 for Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10, but issued another update to reverse the mitigation due to performance issues and unexpected reboots. On January 22, Intel requested that all device manufacturers and operating system developers cease distributing updates until Intel addressed the issues. Now the company appears to be quite confident that it squashed all the microcode bugs. 

“This effort has included extensive testing by customers and industry partners to ensure the updated versions are ready for production,” Navin Shenoy, Intel’s executive vice president and general manager of the Data Center Group, said in a statement. “On behalf of all of Intel, I thank each and every one of our customers and partners for their hard work and partnership throughout this process.” 

Product Review

LG Gram 14 proves 2-in-1 laptops don’t need to sacrifice battery for light weight

The LG Gram 14 2-in-1 aims to be very light for a laptop that converts to a tablet. And it is. But it doesn’t skimp on the battery, and so it lasts a very long time on a charge.
Computing

Lenovo patent hints at a future tablet with a folding screen

Folding devices are a new trend, and according to a recent patent, Lenovo is considering a foldable 2-in-1 with a hinge mechanism that would allow consumers to bend back the screen on the device. 
Mobile

Get $100 discount on the Razer Phone 2 for a limited time

The Razer Phone 2 is finally here, and it's got upgraded specs, that super-smooth 120Hz display, and an updated design. Here's absolutely everything you need to know about the Razer Phone 2.
Computing

Lost your router? Here's how to find its IP address to help track it down

Changing the login information for your router isn't always easy, that's why so many have that little card on the back. But in order to use it, you need to know where to go. Here's how to find the IP address of your router.
Gaming

These are the best indie games you can get on PC right now

Though many indie games now come to consoles as well, there's still a much larger selection on PC. With that in mind, we've created a list of the best indie games for PC, with an emphasis on games that are only available on PC.
Apple

Want a MacBook that will last all day on a single charge? Check these models out

Battery life is one of the most important factors in buying any laptop, especially MacBooks. Their battery life is typically average, but there are some standouts. Knowing which MacBook has the best battery life can be rather useful.
Product Review

Controversy has dogged the MacBook Pro lately. Is it still a good purchase?

The MacBook Pro is a controversial laptop these days -- and that's unfortunate. Due to some divisive changes Apple made to the functionality of the MacBook Pro, fans are more split. Does the 8th-gen refresh change that?
Computing

Want a Dell laptop with an RTX 2060? Cross the new XPS 15 off your list

The next iteration of Dell's XPS 15 laptop won't come with an option for an RTX 2060, according to Alienware's Frank Azor. You could always opt for a new Alienware m15 or m17 instead.
Computing

Always have way too many tabs open? Google Chrome might finally help

Google is one step closer to bringing tab groups to its Chrome browser. The feature is now available in Google's Chrome Canady build with an early implementation that can be enabled through its flag system.
Mobile

Here's how to convert a Kindle book to PDF using your desktop or the web

Amazon's Kindle is one of the best ebook readers on the market, but it doesn't make viewing proprietary files on other platforms any easier. Here's how to convert a Kindle book to PDF using either desktop or web-based applications.
Computing

Worried about your online privacy? We tested the best VPN services

Browsing the web can be less secure than most users would hope. If that concerns you, a virtual private network — aka a VPN — is a decent solution. Check out a few of the best VPN services on the market.
Product Review

Origin's Chronos PC is no looker, but it plays games with eye-popping detail

The Chronos is Origin’s smallest PC, but while it occupies less space than most A/V receivers, it delivers the power of a much larger desktop. Its dull exterior design does the system a disservice. Once you turn it on, you won’t be…
Gaming

Can't stand keyboard gaming on PC? Here's how to use a PS3 controller instead

Properly connecting a PlayStation 3 Controller to a PC is no easy task, especially when you opt for third-party peripherals. Thankfully, our guide will help you through the process.
Computing

Zipping files on a Chromebook? Follow these four easy steps

Chromebooks support file compression, though they work a little differently than on Windows or Mac. Here's the step-by-step process to zipping files on a Chromebook, and then unzipping them again for extraction.