Microsoft releases AMD-specific Windows 7 and 8.1 updates to fix unbootable state issue

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 17, 2018
Updated • Jan 17, 2018

Microsoft released updates for AMD devices running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 designed to fix the unbootable state issue that some AMD devices ran into after installing the out-of-band security updates that Microsoft released in early January 2018 to address the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities.

We have to look back to the beginning of the month to understand better what transpired. Microsoft released an out-of-band security update for all supported versions of Windows in early January that addressed security issues in modern processors.

First thought to be an Intel-specific issue, it turned out soon after that that processors by AMD and other companies were also affected (albeit not as much as Intel processors).

AMD users began to report issues with the update shortly after Microsoft released it and Microsoft halted the delivery as a consequence.

Users and administrators who installed the update noticed that the system would not boot anymore, not even into safe boot. Recovery was the only option to restore the operating system. This led to a vicious cycle of the update being offered to the system, bricking it after installation, and recovery. Admins had to hide the update to break the loop.

KB4073576 and KB4073578 to fix the issue

microsoft windows KB4073578 KB4073578

The two security updates  KB4073576 and KB4073578 fix the issue according to Microsoft's description:

KB4073578 for Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 offers the following information:

An update is available to fix the following issue that occurs after you install January 3, 2018—KB4056897 (Security-only update) or January 4, 2018—KB4056894 (Monthly Rollup):

AMD devices fall into an unbootable state.

KB4073576 for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 share the summary but reference the Windows 8.1 updates KB4056898 and KB4056895 instead.

Microsoft fails to provide relevant information as Woody points out over at Computerworld:

  • Which AMD systems are targeted by the patches? All systems, or only specific processors that were affected by the previously released patches? If the latter, can you install them on other AMD machines as well?
  • Do you need to install the old updates first and risk bricking your system before installing the updates? Or is it sufficient to install only the updates?

Woody noticed that the patches install fine on Intel PCs running Windows as well. It is suggested however not to install the updates on non-AMD systems.

One thing that is puzzling is that Microsoft notes under "update replacement information" on both support articles that "this update does not replace a previously released update."

Does that mean that AMD devices still need the January updates that Microsoft pulled earlier?

I have two explanations for you that could both be valid:

  1. AMD devices need the newly released patches before the previously released security updates are installed on the devices.
  2. AMD devices need only the newly released updates and not the old update.

I don't have access to AMD devices affected by the issue and can't test it, therefore.

Let's not forget about Windows 10 AMD devices. Microsoft released no update for these machines that address the issue. Does that mean that AMD users have to wait until the February patch day to receive the update? Doesn't this issue warrant a separate update for affected machines as well?

Closing Words

I'm still amazed at how lackluster Microsoft handles releases, news articles, blog posts and other sources of information. It would not hurt if the company would start investing a bit more in getting this right for consumers as well as Enterprise customers as it would reduce support requests significantly in my opinion.

Why not add another paragraph to the support articles to inform users about the installation procedure and for which devices the patch is designed?

Now You: Are you affected by this issue?

Microsoft releases AMD-specific Windows 7 and 8.1 updates to fix unbootable state issue
Article Name
Microsoft releases AMD-specific Windows 7 and 8.1 updates to fix unbootable state issue
Microsoft released updates for AMD devices running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 designed to fix the unbootable state issue that some AMD devices ran into after installing the out-of-band security updates that Microsoft released in early January 2018 to address the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities.
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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