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Microsoft will not let you update your Windows 10 if your antivirus program does not pass a new certification with Windows 10. This comes after Microsoft rolls out new security updates to tackle the Meltdown and Spectre CPU attacks. The new certification requires third-party antivirus software to verify their compatibility with Windows 10’s new security updates by sending a registry key. If they do not or cannot do so Microsoft’s updates will not install.
To make it worse, Microsoft will apply this rule to all future security updates which means you might be locked out of all Windows 10 updates in future and it might cost you a new antivirus or even deleting the one you have.
“Customers will not receive the January 2018 security updates (or any subsequent security updates) and will not be protected from security vulnerabilities unless their antivirus software vendor sets the following registry key”, Microsoft’s updated support page says.
Now before we all get angry about this, this is not done to annoy Windows 10 owners, but rather to a) protect them from these new viruses and b) to allow the updates to install successfully as Microsoft has tested the security updates on some x86 CPUs and it resulted in a blue screen. This was due to the antivirus programs making “unsupported calls into Windows kernel memory” that resulted in the machine stuck in a boot loop. Microsoft had to take the following measures to prevent this from happening.
There is a comprehensive list of supported antivirus programs that you can view here and if you feel as if you will be affected by this regulation make sure to check it out. Also, make sure that your AV program is up to date too.
Meltdown and Spectre have been plaguing the industry for a few weeks now as the bugs can affect every device with a chipset produced in the last 20 years. This includes mobile, ARM and Intel chips and also every operating system ever made. While security teams and OS developers are rushing to get these bugs squashed it could be an issue we face for years to come as the number of CPUs affected will take a long time to patch. While this is true, newer CPUs are easier to fix as the infrastructure of the tech industry allows for updates to be pushed out faster and wider than ever before. Intel promises to fix 90% of the most recent chips within the next week. It is those smaller manufacturers that are going to struggle to patch these exploits as the bug even affects mobile phones too. Apple has recently released iOS 11.2.2 that patches the bug found in their Axx chips.
If you have anything with a CPU then keep your device online and ready for a patch as the next few weeks are going to see all the tech giants running around trying to push out updates. As for Windows 10, check your AV compatibility and update your PC or tablet as soon as possible.