Computers

Microsoft’s new patches may be harming your PC

The Meltdown and Spectre patches are duds!

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The Meltdown drama continues. Days after researchers confirmed the existence of the Meltdown and Spectre flaws, big firms like Microsoft and Apple started issuing patches against the bug. Microsoft’s fixes, however, might be doing more harm than good.

Microsoft’s series of patches have been causing issues among those who installed it already. Users are reporting that the patches have caused their PCs to run slower than usual.

Surprisingly, Microsoft themselves have confirmed the reports. A wide range of devices are indeed slowing down because of the patches. The firm has also listed down the affected PCs, as described below.

First, PCs that run Windows 10 on newer processors like Skylake and Kaby Lake show “single-digit” but hardly noticeable slowdowns. Meanwhile, PCs that run Windows 10 on fourth generation or earlier chips will suffer from noticeable slowdown. Finally, those that run Windows 8 or 7 on older chips will be most hit by the performance issues.

The chaos doesn’t even stop there. Some users have even reported that their PCs have stopped booting entirely. In an open thread on Microsoft’s support forums, a user suffering from a bricked PC has been joined by a torrent of users who are suffering from the same issue.

As with the performance issues, Microsoft has issued a statement regarding the unbootable state. This time, they have pinpointed that AMD processors are to blame for the issue, citing a lack of documentation on AMD’s part.

Microsoft has since halted distribution of the erring security patch to AMD processors. Their support team is working to resolve the issue among those already affected by the issue. Meanwhile, Microsoft and AMD developers are working to put out a more stable fix for the Spectre flaw.

Despite the lack of workable fixes for the issue, Microsoft is assuring its users that harmful exploits have not been discovered out in the wild. Not yet, that is.

SEE ALSO: Newly discovered bugs leave two decades of devices vulnerable

Computers

Intel 9th-Gen Core processors feature ‘world’s best gaming processor’

Headlined by the Core i9-9900K

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Intel’s latest lineup of desktop processors, dubbed the 9th generation, were unveiled earlier today in an event in New York. They’re headlined by the Core i9-9900K, which Intel calls the “world’s best gaming processor.”

It’s definitely a powerful chip, owning eight cores and 16 threads with a single-core turbo frequency of 5GHz and base speed of 3.6GHz. It offers all sorts of speed boosts compared to the previous generation, but you’ll need a Z390-based motherboard to reach its full potential.

Included in the lineup are the Core i7-9700K and i5-9600K, which are equipped with eight and six cores, respectively — no extra threads here. All three chips, unfortunately, are still based on the 14nm process introduced years ago, with Intel releasing an updated 10nm process only in 2019.

Pricing is as follows: US$ 488 for the Core i9-9900K, US$ 374 for the Core i7-9700K, and US$ 262 for the Core i5-9600K. Pre-orders begin today with a rollout happening later in October.

In addition, Intel announced seven new Intel Core X-series processors, which include the Core i9-9980XE (US$ 1,979), i9-9960X (US$ 1,684), i9-9940X (US$ 1,387), i9-9920X (US$ 1,189), i9-9900X (US$ 989), i9-9820X (US$ 898), and i7-9800X (US$ 589). All will become available by November.

Built on Intel’s Mesh Architecture, the top-of-the-line model holds 18 cores with 36 threads to handle the most demanding tasks needed by professionals. Even wilder is the upcoming Intel Xeon W-3175X and its 28 core and 56 thread count, but it has no price yet —  only a release date of December 2018.

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NAIA caught using a pirated copy of Windows

No Windows seats available

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As the famous idiom goes, death and taxes are the only constants in our lives. Given the abject nature of death, you’d think that taxes would, at least, work for everyone’s benefit. However, as every taxpayer knows, taxes don’t always end up for the common good.

Ever since taxes were invented, we wondered if our hard-earned money ended up contributing to government projects. At the very least, we hoped that it improved our government’s facilities.

Unfortunately, here’s one thing that our taxes are definitely not funding: government computers. As spotted on Reddit, NAIA’s computer screens are running illegitimate copies of Windows 7.

Around the Philippine airport, massive monitors update travelers on current flight times and statuses. Pictured by the eagle-eyed u/LyraStark, one monitor snuck out of full-screen mode and erroneously unveiled the taskbar. More than blocking out the flights, the taskbar also revealed the oddity with NAIA’s computers.

As most are probably familiar with, Windows notifies users when the system detects anomalies with the installation. If Windows figures out that your copy is pirated, you’ll get more than your fair share of reprimands. As you might expect, Microsoft isn’t keen on piracy.

Strangely, neither is the Philippine government. Despite having one of the world’s largest markets for it, the government has notoriously frowned upon pirated media and software. As such, NAIA’s blunder comes as an ironic shock.

Through comments, users have started wondering whether the illegitimate install took a slot in the airport’s budget. Some speculate that most government institutions run pirated software as well. Meanwhile, a few people think that genuine copies can mistakenly show the same notification.

Regardless, at the very least, the issue is something we can laugh about. Like the everyday user, the government doesn’t see the point in paying huge fees for Windows products.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft recalls Windows October update due to deleting issues

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Computers

Microsoft recalls Windows October update due to deleting issues

Don’t update your PC yet!

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For most Windows users, installing the latest update represents a paramount concern for different reasons. To some, new updates add much-needed security patches to their beloved operating system. To the rest, Windows’ incessant reminders are just a chore.

Regardless of where their users place, Windows updates are an important part of Microsoft’s ecosystem. As such, a single hitch can collapse an unprecedented chunk of Microsoft’s users.

Now, that eventuality is upon us. This October, the latest Windows update is reportedly deleting a user’s files out of the blue. According to Windows support forums, some users’ Documents folders have completely vanished, replaced by a fresh one.

In response, Microsoft has pulled the update from its downloads section. Unfortunately, the update promised its fair share of new features. This included a new dark mode, optimized screen functionality, and better mobile-to-PC connectivity. With the recall, these new features will have to wait.

According to Microsoft, the company will investigate these “isolated reports” before launching a new update rollout.

Strangely, this issue has popped up even before the rollout. Some user reports date as early as three months ago. This time frame corresponds to users who signed up for the early-access Windows Insider Program. At the time, only a few users reported the issue. On launch, the few ballooned into a concerning number. Essentially, Microsoft failed to fix the issue before it cascaded into a bigger problem.

At the very least, the company has acknowledged the issue’s gravity. Instead of carrying on business as usual, Microsoft is undergoing steps to fix a crucial mistake. Hopefully, this results to a cleaner update launches in the future.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft refreshes product lineup with Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2, Surface Studio 2

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