Microsoft: Windows 7 and 8 PCs noticeably slower after Spectre and Meltdown patches, Windows 10 PCs not

Posted 10 January 2018 15:56 CET by Jan Willem Aldershoff

Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Windows, Terry Myerson, stated today that devices with older Windows versions like Windows 7 and Windows 8, and many servers, will be noticeably slower after the Meltdown and Spectre security patches are applied.

However, most Windows 10 users will hardly notice any performance degradation when the patches are installed, according to Myerson. Windows 10 users with a PC from 2016 or before will probably not notice any slowdown. Some users of Windows 10, with an Intel CPU older than Haswell, will probably notice that their PC will be a tad slower.

Users with those older Intel CPUs, who are on Windows 7 or Windows 8m will notice their PC is slower than before, according to Microsoft. Also servers running Windows will have a ‘significant’ decrease of performance, regardless of the used CPU. Microsoft recommends server administors to wisely make a decision between a more secure and slower server and a less secure, better performing server.

The Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities were disclosed last week and affect pretty much all computers, smartphones and tablets.

Spectre makes it possible for attackers to access the memory used by applications and this way leak passwords and other sensitive data. Meltdown offers attackers access to the computer memory where passwords and documents are stored.

When the vulnerabilities were just revealed, security researchers predicted that the patches would slow down computers with 5 to 30%. Intel denied those reports and stated that most users won’t notice any performance degradation.

Also Amazon, Apple and Google stated that the patches didn’t affect performance when they applied patches for Spectre and Meltdown.

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