The new Windows Analytics updates come to aid sysadmins still struggling with understanding the complex process of patching the Meltdown and Spectre security bugs revealed at the start of the year and that impact a large number of CPU models released in the past two decades.
Microsoft previously shared how the average Windows user can protect themselves from the Spectre and Meltdown security flaws, but today the company explained how IT Pros can do the same with all Windows PCs across their enterprise. To make their jobs a little easier, Microsoft put a trio of new features into its Windows administration tool suite.
Unless you manage several PCs deployed at your workplace, you might not be familiar with Windows Analytics, a free tool that Microsoft provides to businesses.
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Microsoft has modified its Windows Analytics service for IT admins to report on machines' Meltdown/Spectre protection status.
Furthermore, Windows Analytics will also report on the status of that mysterious registry key that computers running a custom antivirus software will need to have.
One of the first problems to emerge from early efforts to mitigate Meltdown and Spectre - otherwise known as the speculative execution side-channel attacks - was Microsoft's requirement for third-party antivirus to be compatible with its kernel fixes. The checking tool is available for fully updated versions of Windows 7 through Windows 10. Our complete list of Windows editions and security updates can be found in our Windows customer guidance article.
Windows Operating System Security Update Status: This Windows Analytics insight will indicate which Windows security update is running on any device and if any of these updates have been disabled. Microsoft notes that not all AV software is compatible with the latest Windows updates, and if that is the case, Windows Analytics will let IT admins know about it. "We will be adding other CPU (chipset) partners' data as it becomes available to Microsoft", Microsoft stated in a blog post.