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Microsoft is implementing a solution to the performance issues with Windows 10 as a result of the Spectre patches rolled out at the beginning of this year. The solution will be part of the next feature update in the first half of 2019 (19H1).

We have enabled retpoline on our 19H1 flights by default, along with what we call import optimization to further reduce the performance impact of indirect calls in kernel mode, says Mehmet Iyigun of the Windows/Azure Kernel Team on Twitter.

The two adjustments together should ensure that the impact of the Spectre v2 migrations on performance is reduced to noise level.

Retpoline is a software monetization for Spectre v2, developed by Google. Google’s own tests show that their impact on the performance of a system is almost negligible. Several Linux distributions are already using it, including Red Hat, SUSE, and Oracle Linux 6 and 7.

One of the major concerns surrounding the patches for Spectre and Meltdown was that they could have a significant impact on performance, ranging from 5 to 30 percent. The vulnerabilities are located at the core of the processor architecture. They take advantage of speculative execution, a function that has been crucial to progress in performance in recent years.

Speculative design

Intel in particular has been hit hardest by the way in which the chip giant implements speculative execution in its processors. A number of new Xeon and 8th generation Core i-chips have already built in hardware emulations, but they only protect against attacks that are already known.

Read this: The curse of Spectre: Why does it keep haunting you and Intel?

However, speculative execution can be abused in many ways. Spectre already exists in several variants and recently it got a brother in addition to Meltdown. Foreshadow, which was discovered by researchers from KU Leuven, also uses speculative execution and is not yet reflected in the latest chip…

Only a processor architecture that is rebuilt from scratch can fully protect future Intel processors, but that requires at least more years of development time.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.