The Intel Meltdown bug can be patched with an OS update. The same cannot be said for the Spectre bug. In order to fully protect your system, as much as is possible at the moment, against Spectre you need to update your BIOS. PC manufacturers have started releasing a special BIOS Spectre update. A BIOS update is not like an OS update. It isn’t going to install automatically. You have to download and install it yourself. Since BIOS updates very rarely roll out, and this is a critical update, we’re going to walk you through the whole process.
UPDATE: Intel has issued a warning users against installing its patches. It appears the patches have slowed down systems more than what Intel’s original estimates. If you’ve already upgraded, your manufacturer will issue a new patch for your BIOS, eventually. Everything is a mess at this point.
BIOS updates are installed the same way on all versions of Windows.
List Of BIOS Spectre Updates
The trickyt part is finding and downloading the BIOS Spectre update for your PC. The rest is fairly simple. We’re linking you to BIOS updates that have been released by popular PC manufacturers.
Acer – Visit this page and expand the desktop section to view which Acer systems have been identified as vulnerable. The BIOS update for Spectre has not arrived yet for Acer laptops. It’s expected in March, 2018. Once March arrives, visit the Acer Support page, identify your PC/laptop and download the latest BIOS version.
ASUS – ASUS is working on the BIOS updates and they will be available this month. Some already are. Check the linked page and follow the instructions to find the BIOS update for your laptop.
HP – Visit this page, search for your laptop/PC, and download the latest BIOS version that is available. HP has released a BIOS update for most of its affected laptops but not for all. If your system isn’t listed, wait until the end of January.
Lenovo – Visit the page and you can see which systems have a BIOS Spectre update and which are still on the waiting list. Lenovo has given a time estimate for each PC/laptop so take note and make sure you check back.
Microsoft – The Surface tablets BIOS will update via Windows updates. These tablets are an exception and no other Windows desktops/PCs will update its BIOS via Windows updates.
Panasonic – BIOS updates are in the works and the estimated release date is in February, 2018. Make sure you check back then.
Toshiba – They’re working on it and the update should be available early this year.
Vaio – You’re going to need Google Translate for this page but any model that has a linked file has an updated BIOS that you can download.
LG and Huawei have not yet released any BIOS updates. LG is still quite on the front while Huawei is still investigating the problem.
Install BIOS Spectre Update
The new BIOS update will download as an EXE file. In order to update BIOS, you need only run the EXE on your desktop. Make sure you;
- Close all apps and exit any and all UI modification apps such as Rainmeter
- Make sure you’re connected to a power source. Do not rely on your laptop’s battery to carry you through the update. Make sure your power source will not fail you mid-update.
During The Update
The BIOS update will begin on your desktop inside the Windows UI however, your system will restart shortly and you will see your BIOS screen. Do not interfere with anything. Allow the update to install. The update will not ask you to confirm or select anything. Once the update is complete, your system will automatically boot to your desktop.
Booting After The Update
Ideally, you should be able to boot to your desktop without any trouble. That said, if you do experience any trouble booting to your system, shut it down or force shut it down and then turn it on. If you get stuck on the lock screen, don’t select the restart option from the power menu. Select the shut down option, and then turn it on once your system has fully shut down.
Are You Safe?
Run a tool called InSpectre. It will tell you if your system is protected against Spectre or not and what measures need to be taken to make sure that you are. If the BIOS update has patched the bug, you will see the screen below that says the system is now protected.