Microsoft’s Patch of Meltdown-Spectre Proves the Need for Backup

Backup before updating software


The ancient Greeks once warned about “the cure being worse than the disease.” Unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s happened following Microsoft’s patches for the Meltdown-Spectre vulnerabilities. It seems many computers became unusable after the update, proving once again that creating a backup before installing any system update is critical.

Researchers revealed that those vulnerabilities could allow malicious applications to access the memory of another program running on the same machine, creating a major security concern. Because these vulnerabilities were embedded in certain modern processors – including chips from Intel, AMD, and Arm – it could affect machines running common operating systems such as Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Windows’ failed patch

Once the broad impact of these vulnerabilities was found, each software company quickly developed patches to close these vulnerabilities on machines running their operating system. Microsoft released its patches on January 3, 2018.

After its Windows update, Microsoft’s community message boards soon began receiving complaints that some computers stopped working if they had a certain AMD chipset. Rather than booting as normal, they instead entered an unbootable state that rendered the machine unusable. In response, Microsoft stopped sending its Meltdown-Spectre update to machines with AMD processors until the issue could be fixed.

Microsoft’s decision to postpone its update helps those who have not loaded the patches, but what about the machines that have already been rendered useless by the “fix”?

No backup? No laptop

This incident proves that there is one piece of advice that individuals and small businesses should always follow: back up before you update.

There’s no guarantee that a patch is going to work smoothly. In fact, there are plenty of examples of past updates causing major disruptions. Creating a full image backup of your system before applying an update is the only guarantee that you can “stay calm and carry on” if something bad happens, since you can use it to revert your system to a known, working state.

Backup gets you up and running

A full image backup creates a carbon-copy image of your entire system: not only the precious photos and important files, but more importantly your operating system, applications and settings that you need to restore your computer.

Not only are the documents on your computer safe, but the operational files can be restored to immediately function as expected: booting the system as normal, launching your inbox, and retrieving the documents you were working on.

Without a full image backup, you’ll have to reinstall your operating system, all of the programs you use, and reset all of the preferences that you’ve added – an annoying and time-consuming task.

Acronis makes creating a full image backup easy, reliable, and secure.

Final thought

Microsoft’s patching problems is just the latest evidence that things don’t always go smoothly when companies try to update their products. No one wants to lose time or, worse, their files because something went wrong while fixing a problem, which illustrates once again that you should always back up your computers before installing an update. Whether you’re updating your family computer or your business’s systems, a full image backup will let you restore your system quickly, easily, and reliably.