Meltdown and Spectre: Is your PC vulnerable?

A new app gives you a simple overview of your system's vulnerability status, as well as what kind of performance hit the patches might be having.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Meltdown-Spectre: A reminder to the IT industry that security is a mirage

Want to know if your PCs are vulnerable to the Meltdown and Spectre attacks? Want to get an idea of the sort of performance hit the patches might entail? Want to temporarily disable the update for testing purposes? There's an app that can do all this.

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Enter InSpectre, yet another excellent freeware utility created by Steve Gibson of GRC.com.

Using InSpectre is about as simple as it gets -- download the 126KB file (yes, kilobytes, not megabytes!), and on first run (no, there's no installation process) it will give you a clear overview of your system's Meltdown and Spectre status, as well as offering an indication as to whether the patches have an impact on system performance (this is based on the processor/operating system information and not a benchmark).

InSpectre can also be used to disable protection on PCs (note that enabling and disabling protection requires a reboot). Why might you want to do that? Well, you might want to do this for testing purposes, or to regain lost performance.

Enabling and disabling Meltdown and Spectre protection is carried out by modifying registry entries as detailed here.

InSpectre can also output more in-depth data about the system and how the tool comes to its conclusions about the system's vulnerability status.

InSpectre can also be run on Linux and macOS systems, but it has to be run using WINE.

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