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Intel Wi-Fi software hogs PC memory

Software update for Intel wireless hardware is faulty and can hog PC memory, but an update is due Friday.

A software update for Intel wireless hardware is faulty and can hog PC memory, Intel acknowledged Thursday. A fix is due on Friday.

The problem affects the Intel PROSet software version 10.5, Amy Martin, an Intel spokeswoman, said. The PROSet software accompanies Intel's drivers that run the company's wireless hardware on PCs.

"One of the processes used by the Intel PROSet software was not releasing the (file) handles correctly, which caused more and more memory to be used by the process," Martin said. As a result, a PC slows down, she said.

Intel has made a fix available to PC makers and plans to post it to the Intel Web site on Friday, Martin said.

The PROSet software was released early in August as part of Intel's scheduled updates. The new version included some fixes for security flaws, the most serious of which could allow an attacker to break into a PC via Wi-Fi or even create a worm that jumps from one wireless-enabled PC to another.

Intel recommends that users of PCs equipped with Intel wireless hardware install the latest version of the company's software. A telltale sign that the Intel hardware is present is the "Centrino" sticker on laptops. Some PC makers will ship the updated software on new PCs and make it available to customers with driver updates, Martin said.