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Windows 95 patch for K6-2 chips now free

The patch corrects an obscure glitch that occurs when Windows 95 is run on AMD K6-2 processors running at 350-MHz or faster.

A patch that corrects an obscure glitch that occurs when Windows 95 is run on AMD K6-2 processors running at 350-MHz or faster is now free.

The problem, which was both reported and repaired in September, comes because of a "software timing loop" incorporated in Windows 95, said executives at both Advanced Micro Devices and Microsoft.

The Windows 95 operating system was not originally designed for processors running at speeds of 350-MHz or more, said sources. As a result, computer users with Windows 95 and a 350-MHz chip would occasionally get a "Windows Protection Error" when booting up. A similar problem existed with 333-MHz Pentium II chips that ran Windows 95, but it was fixed early on.

A patch for the problem was issued in September and published on both the AMD and Microsoft Web sites. Initially, however, Microsoft charged customers $35 for a support incident to repair the patch.

Now, AMD has taken the matter into its own hands and is offering repairs for free, according to a spokeswoman at AMD. The patch is available at an AMD Web site.

Although the bug can be debilitating, it affects very few consumers. The 350-MHz version of the K6-2 came out after Windows 98. Therefore, most computers containing the faster K6-2s and virtually all of the K6-2 machines produced by major manufacturers use Windows 98, which does not cause the same problem.

Despite recent news articles about the glitch, Dana Krelle, AMD's vice president of marketing, has stated that there are no new bugs. The glitch that was reported in September is the same one being discussed in current news articles.