In early January 2018, researchers discovered a couple of very serious bugs that exist in almost all CPU chips used in modern computers, phones and tablets. The bugs were named Spectre and Meltdown. In essence, the bugs could allow one malicious program to read the data of another program that is also running on the device at the same time, even though the CPU is supposed to keep each application's data separated.
A handful of companies have released free programs that will check your PC and report whether your CPU is vulnerable to the bugs, whether your version of Windows has been patched already, and whether the patches have slowed down your PC. This last figure is based not on actual speed tests, but on the program's knowledge of which CPU you have and how it's known to be affected by the bugs.
My favourite of all these checkers is called InSpectre, from the well respected Gibson Research Corporation. The program is a free download at https://www.grc.com/inspectre.htm and is less than 0.2 MB. It's portable, and the site is rated as reputable by Web of Trust. It does trigger one of VirusTotal's 66 different malware scanning engines, but this is almost certainly a false alarm and can safely be ignored.
The program runs on all recent versions of Windows, from 7 to 10.
To use InSpectre, just download and run the program, then read the results that it displays.
Note that the program also has the option to allow you to disable any protection that has been installed. Unless you have a serious need to do so, then we recommend that you don't do this. But the program is very useful in helping you to ensure that your PC has been patched correctly, and whether the speed impact of the patch on your particular system will be significant or not.
Please rate this article: