Firmware Update Proceeds at Glacial Pace
I’ve been blogging about firmware updates to address the Spectre/Meltdown vulnerabilities since early January. Today’s the first of March, so it seems appropriate to report back in on what’s happening. Some vendors — most notably, Dell and Microsoft, in my case — have been pro-active and forward about posting solutions. Others — like Lenovo — have done a great job of announcing their intentions to post upgrades. Alas, they haven’t actually posted much of anything just yet. Too many — which includes Asrock and Jetway in my case — have been more or less mum on the topic of updates until now. And that, my friends, is why I say that firmware update proceeds at glacial pace where these vulnerabilities are concerned. Sigh.
Here’s what Lenovo says about my two laptops (edited down from their monster-sized original).
More Details on How Firmware Update Proceeds at Glacial Pace
Now I’ll get into the details of the systems I’m taking care of these days, by the numbers
- Surface Pro 3 (Haswell): MS rushed out a firmware patch within a few days of the early January announcements. It worked OK for a while, but then I started having frequent GSODs. A newer firmware patch released in early February took care of that.
- Dell Venue Pro 11 7139 (Haswell): Dell released one BIOS update in late January. It worked OK but I had to pop out the battery to get the machine to boot, either from shut down or restart. A newer patch in mid-February fixed that issue.
- Dell XPS 2720 All-in-One (Haswell): Dell released a firmware update for this earlier this week (some reported finding this yesterday; I installed it this morning). Working OK so far.
- Lenovo T520 laptop (Sandy Bridge): Lenovo now includes this laptop on its list of platforms for which a firmware update is scheduled, but there’s no telling when that’s going to occur. I’m not holding my breath, but I am tickled they’re going to support a CPU this old.
- Lenovo X220 tablet (Sandy Bridge): Although this unit has the same CPU as the T520, Lenovo included it on their platform list about a week sooner than it added the T520. Both of these machines, though 6 years old, remain total workhorses. I use them all the time.
- Two Asrock motherboards grace my household: a Z170 Extreme7+ and a Z97 Fatal1ty Killer. So far, Asrock is mostly mum on the subject of firmware updates. No idea when this is going to occur, but I’m hopeful that both of these newer systems will get a firmware update someway, somehow.
- Jetway Mini-ITX (Ivy Bridge): Now we’re getting out there in the mists of time. I haven’t checked JetWay’s website because I don’t expect they’ll be issuing any patches for this mid-2012 vintage CPU. If intel issues a microcode patch, and I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll work my way through the BIOS patching info at Win-RAID.com and do it myself.
What’s the Current Score?
Let’s see 8 systems: 3 have been patched, and 5 are still waiting. That’s a 0.375 batting average. For baseball, that’s pretty good. For achieving protection from what’s supposed to be a dire set of vulnerabilities, I’m disinctly unimpressed. But because I have to say on top of this stuff, I will. And I’ll keep reporting back on it from time to time. My next expected return to this topic should occur when — mirabili dictu! — Lenovo gets round to posting its firmware patches. You probably don’t want to hold your breath, either…