Microsoft killing Autopatcher Project
I have published articles about the Autopatcher project which is basically providing users with the opportunity to download one executable file that contains all official patches for their Microsoft operating system. This method has a lot of advantages over downloading patches from Microsoft servers: You save bandwidth if you have to install the patches to more than one operating system and also do not have to rely on the automatic updates website to select the patches. So, if you do not have an Internet connection on a PC, this is one of your best bets to get the PC patched up after all.
It is also important to note that it is theoretically possible to attack an unpatched system when it visits the Microsoft website to download the patches which would not be the case if an autopatcher file would have been available (for more than 1 computer, that is) Several users do not like the fact that they have to connect to a Microsoft server to download the patches because of privacy issues.
Microsoft requested an immediate take down of the Autopatcher download page with the reasoning that they want to make their downloads available only from their servers and from nowhere else. It is however kinda strange that it took them four years to request the takedown and many users fear that this has something to do with WGA enforcements.
The Neowin admin who was contacted asked the same question and received the following answer:
I asked the representative if Windows Genuine Advantage had anything to do with it and he categorically told me this was not the case, he added that Windows Update for pre-Vista versions of Windows can now be accessed using Firefox and that the concern at Microsoft had more to do with the possible malicious code that could be redistributed with certified Microsoft updates.
This is a sad day indeed.
Update: It appears that the AutoPatcher project is still alive after all, even though in slightly different form than before. You can still download a program that lets you download all patches for a Microsoft operating system.
I must say I can see Microsoft’s point on this in some respects, I’m no fan of Microsoft but to be honest I think most other companies wouldn’t have allowed it either.
I’ve used the autopatcher myself in the past on other machines and thought at the time that since it’s not attached directly to Microsoft there could potentially be anything in the patcher.
Perhaps a better approach on Microsofts part would be to team up in some way with the autopatcher team and make it available as an option on the MS site as a download.
As long as MS doesn’t provide an easy way to download a whole set of patches for a system or an application (office), Autopatcher has his place and is helpul to Microsoft!
Their new website Microsoft Update Catalog ( http://catalog.update.microsoft.com/) is a good start but it miss some good filter functions. Admins want an easy way to download (locally) all updates until now for each OS.
Keep Autopatcher alive !