After the disclosure of major chip-level security bugs Meltdown and Spectre in the last week, the affected companies started working on the patches which involve a redesign of the Windows and Linux kernels. While few companies have released the fixes through a software update, the others are preparing to release the patches. Microsoft says that it is blocking the security updates due to compatibility issues it found with a small number of antivirus software products.
Explaining about the compatibility issue, the company wrote in its support page that these issues will arise when antivirus applications make unsupported calls into Windows kernel memory causing blue screen errors (Stop errors) which make the device unable to boot.
As a result, the devices running antivirus software from the companies which have confirmed the compatibility will only get the software update that is released on January 3, 2018. Also, the company is trying to bring the software updates to other devices by working with other antivirus software partners.
How to get the Microsoft Security Update?
As it is stated clearly, you need a compatible antivirus on your device. But the question is what all antivirus apps are compatible with the update?
To make this task easy for the users, Kevin Beaumont, a security researcher has listed all the antivirus apps that are compatible with the patches. Find out here.
If you do not have an antivirus software or running an incompatible version, then Microsoft is recommending the users to use the built-in antivirus protection, Windows Defender Antivirus, for Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 devices or a compatible third-party antivirus application. And the Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 users are suggested to install Microsoft Security Essentials or a compatible third-party app as these devices don’t come with built-in antivirus apps.
The antivirus software must set a registry key to receive the patches. Set the key by following the below procedure
NOTE: Incorrect usage of the registry key can lead to issues such as re-installation of operating system. Microsoft warns to use the Registry Editor at your own risk. Read the topic on how to edit registry prior to editing.
If you couldn’t install and the anti-virus software then Microsoft recommends you to manually set the registry key.
And it is mandatory for the antivirus software vendors to set the registry key so that their customers could receive the January 2018 security updates.