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Microsoft Forces Shutdown of Autopatcher

ScuttleMonkey posted about 7 years ago | from the hooray-for-lawyers dept.

Microsoft 290

kaufmanmoore writes "Posts on Neowin and Autopatcher's site announce Microsoft has forced the closure of the Autopatcher download section. Details are scarce as to the exact reason for the take down after over 4 years of availability, but an official from Microsoft legal says that it has nothing to do with Windows Genuine Advantage. Goodbye to another useful tool that helped sysadmins apply Microsoft's numerous patches."

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One down, X to go. (5, Informative)

c0l0 (826165) | about 7 years ago | (#20403687)

Whilst skimming over the About-Section of the page, this tool's description reminded me of heise's "offline update" ( http://www.heise-security.co.uk/articles/80682 [heise-security.co.uk] ). It's an alternative tool, allowing the download of selected Microsoft Windows update packs for later, offline (re-)use. Nice to have - if you're still on Windows, that is. Wonder if/when it's gonna be shot down as well.

Re:One down, X to go. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20404009)

There's better ways to do the job anyways (like slipstreaming updates in the install CD, since autopatcher was mainly used on new installs). Loads of similar tools (like WindizUpdate and many others) and tools like MS' WSUS (free too) to do the job anyways. I won't particularly miss it either, it was quite buggy -- you'd expect it to finish doing its job unattended, but you'd usually come back to yet another error message. Not that it was hard to put all the patches in folder along with a batch file or script that would apply them all either.

I wouldn't exactly say good riddance, but I'm not exactly sad to see it go either...

Re:One down, X to go. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20404399)

since autopatcher was mainly used on new installs.
Can you please back this up? The sheer fact that they released "full releases" & patches to bring a full release back up-to-date suggests people used it PERIODICALLY (e.g. for updates, rather than new installs). Many admins I know put it on a USB stick & kept it up-to-date for BOTH new installs & updates.Loads of similar tools (like WindizUpdate and many others) and tools like MS' WSUS (free too) to do the job anyways.No--these require a stable, fast network too. AutoPatcher could be used REGARDLESS of network status, restrictions, etc.

Re:One down, X to go. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20404421)

Buggy?

It was a collection of MS Windows updates. You're not suggesting the updates were buggy are you?

I never had any problems with Autopatcher that I didn't have with the same "official" MS Windows update.

My experiences may be anecdotal but I doubt they are unique.

Re:One down, X to go. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20404083)

It's an alternative tool, allowing the download of selected Microsoft Windows update packs for later, offline

So does this have "nothing to do with" the fact that I read Vista SP1 won't allow offline updates.

Re:One down, X to go. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20404099)

That's a bit more difficult, as the Heise tool is just a bunch of scripts that pulls the patches from the MS website (whereas Autopatcher was repackaging and redistributing the MS software).

Re:One down, X to go. (2, Informative)

Lt.Hawkins (17467) | about 7 years ago | (#20404467)

offline update is terrific; its basically a script that wgets the patches directly from Microsoft, and can work incrementally after each patch tuesday. it'll create an ISO for you, or just have it store the patches in a directory with an auto-installer.

I even customized it (its source is available) to download an unlisted windows language.

Terrific. How long before they break even that? (5, Interesting)

Erris (531066) | about 7 years ago | (#20404829)

offline update is terrific; its basically a script that wgets the patches directly from Microsoft,

The geinous of M$ can not be understated. Rather than let people share the burden of distributing their "patches" (efficiently [netcraft.com] )they will make everyone go to them. We have just seen how well they do at an easier task [slashdot.org] .

It won't be long before they only allow "authenticated" clients to download.

The contrast between this and the free software world could not be greater. Every gnu/linux distro has been easy to keep up today for the last ten years and there are verified mirrors everywhere. When you download a package from a mirror, you can md5 sum check it against the original source and most package managers do this automatically. M$ on the other hand, won't even let you distribute what they consider "free". Be wary when someone from M$ advocates BSD, love of your freedom is not the reason for their advice.

This is sad... (3, Interesting)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | about 7 years ago | (#20403707)

That utility has obtained patches that Windows Update indicated were already installed but wasn't. This utility has saved a lot of headaches. Really sorry to see it go like that.

Contact MS here (2, Informative)

Darthmalt (775250) | about 7 years ago | (#20404413)

Via the Autopatcher torrent page Be polite [microsoft.com]

Captcha = Bypass
thought it appropriate

Morons. (5, Insightful)

adam.dorsey (957024) | about 7 years ago | (#20403729)

Do they even understand the concept of bad publicity any more, or did they just stop caring?

Fuckers hit close to home, this time; Autopatcher was great for keeping relatives on dialup up-to-date.

Re:Morons. (2, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 7 years ago | (#20403787)

Do they even understand the concept of bad publicity any more, or did they just stop caring?
Maybe they're following the Hollywood publicist school of publicity: anything that doesn't involve a dead spouse or sex with children is good publicity.

Re:Morons. (1)

Seakip18 (1106315) | about 7 years ago | (#20403965)

awww man. I would have loved this for updates, especially when using ancient ghost images. I've been keeping a batch file that runs all the latest updates I downloaded for that image. With this, I coulda just ran it and not give a damn about any patch level.

Re:Morons. (4, Informative)

William-Ely (875237) | about 7 years ago | (#20404689)

I used it a lot as a PC tech. Microsoft might not realize that some people use dial-up still and downloading large updates isn't really practical. With Autopatcher all I had to do was pop in a CD or a thumb drive and get down to business patching up Windows. At least then I could be sure that when I left my clients computer fully patched up no matter what their connection was like. Way to go MS.

/em Pours out a '40 for the departed Autopatcher ; ;

Re:Morons. (5, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | about 7 years ago | (#20404053)

They just stopped caring. And why not indeed - what is there to be afraid in squashing a little web site? The society is already in deep apathy (if not slumber,) and critical thought is about to send you to jail. Bloggers on /. will rage and fume for a few days, but nobody will notice that anyhow, and all that rage will dissipate in a week, but the good business remains.

MS is cynical and ruthless because it can and because it is profitable; and so it will stay. If you don't like that don't run Windows, it is that simple. With modern Linux distros it's not such a great loss. And if you don't want to fiddle with X settings, get a mac - Apple will charge you for that, but you get a sane system in return, not a buggy treadmill. [full disclosure: I do not own a modern Mac; all I have is an ancient PowerBook with 8.5.x MacOS, and I rarely even power it on, I keep it as a piece of history.]

Understatement of the Month. (2, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | about 7 years ago | (#20404345)

... don't run Windows, it is that simple. With modern Linux distros it's not such a great loss.

It's more like a tremendous savings in time and trouble.

Re:Understatement of the Month. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20404483)

Not even close. I hate Windows as much as the next guy, but the simple fact is that Linux is not appropriate to 80+% of people's usage. Most people simply can't deal with Linux at all (my parents and in-laws both struggle with Windows and would struggle with MacOS as well, let alone Linux). Even as a techhead myself, I realise that many of the programs I use regularly would be awkward or impossible to find substitutes for. Windows is still far too well entrenched for Linux to be a savings in time or trouble so far - rather, Linux itself would prove (for most people) an even greater investment of time and effort in learning the OS and finding ways to replace or run all their favorite programs. Linux may eventually reach the mainstream in another 5-10 years, but it's nowhere near so far - despite what the fanboys would have you believe on Slashdot.

Re:Understatement of the Month. (5, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | about 7 years ago | (#20404747)

Well, you do lose PC games, since rare a game works under WINE. But I personally fixed this issue by just getting a console, and I am not sorry that I did - the thing just works, and I don't need to throw kilobucks at video cards. And in any case, games are first released for consoles, and only much later - maybe - rereleased for a PC.

Re:Morons. (1)

hansamurai (907719) | about 7 years ago | (#20404181)

They must have hired the RIAA's publicist. Not that shutting down an autopatcher is on the same level as suing a dead person, but you gotta start somewhere, right?

Re:Morons. (2, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | about 7 years ago | (#20404207)

I don't think that in this case they are being unreasonable. I do think that it is a bit odd that they waited this long to assert their rights, but they are behaving.

I don't think that it has been a secret that cracked versions of windows have the potential to contain malware embedded at the deepest levels, to suggest that patches couldn't also be infected is a bit on the dishonest side.

As to whether this is really why, I have no idea. But I personally wouldn't feel comfortable downloading a copy over the net, even without any sort of threat of lawsuit.

What I would like MS to do is make it easy for people to download their patches, and hang onto them. Especially since windows doesn't run well for extended periods without being reinstalled.

Should have bought and funded it instead (5, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | about 7 years ago | (#20404327)

Instead of shutting it down, Microsoft should have bought Autopatcher and funded it.

This service added a lot of value to MS customers. Tearing it down because they were better than their equivalent is destructive.

Doing things that make your products harder to use is bad business sense. It really shows how badly out of touch MS is with the industry.

Re:Should have bought and funded it instead (2, Funny)

TechForensics (944258) | about 7 years ago | (#20404701)

What on Earth could Microsoft be thinking making Windows XP harder to use? Would kind of tend to make Vista look good by comparison..

Oh wait....

Re: Business Sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20404703)

1. Show Bad Business Sense.
2. Retreat from the pulse of the industry.
3. Shutdown superior alternatives.
4. Make your products hard to use.
5. ???
6. Profit!

Re:Morons. (1)

slapout (93640) | about 7 years ago | (#20404417)


"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the OS company."

WindizUpdate next? (4, Interesting)

Aggrajag (716041) | about 7 years ago | (#20403749)

So are they going to shut down WindizUpdate next as it is a lot more useful that Windowsupdate has ever been. Then again maybe the patches are downloaded from Microsoft's servers but I'm not sure.

Just go underground (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20403751)

Get some cool handles and start disting. only on TPB or something. Autopatcher is sooooo useful for me, I typically take a new version on a USB-stick to update my fathers computer, etc. Saves years of time.

Are they making the arguement that..... (5, Informative)

8127972 (73495) | about 7 years ago | (#20403817)

... this is some sort of DMCA violation? That's bizarre because Microsoft has known about them for some time and according to their site, they didn't care:

"Q: Is AutoPatcher legal?
A: Yes, Antonis Kaladis (our project manager) once spoke to a Microsoft employee and apparently they know about us but don't care what we do! The AutoPatcher project has been going strong since 2003 and never had a sniff of trouble from Microsoft."

From http://www.autopatcher.com/faq/ [autopatcher.com]

Re:Are they making the arguement that..... (1)

tftp (111690) | about 7 years ago | (#20404097)

Meet the new MS lawyer, not exactly the same as the old MS lawyer.

Re:Are they making the arguement that..... (2, Insightful)

prshaw (712950) | about 7 years ago | (#20404163)

How does someone in your company talking to a random Microsoft employee make them legal? How does Microsoft knowing about them make them legal?

I am not a lawyer, but I think I know when one is needed. And I think if that is their claim on being legal they really need to talk to one.

I have no idea if they are legal or not. My point is just talking to someone in a company and having them say they know about you doesn't make what you are doing legal.

How 'bout getting that in writing next time? (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 7 years ago | (#20404177)

"Q: Is AutoPatcher legal?
A: Yes, Antonis Kaladis (our project manager) once spoke to a Microsoft employee and apparently they know about us but don't care what we do! The AutoPatcher project has been going strong since 2003 and never had a sniff of trouble from Microsoft."


How 'bout getting that in writing next time? Welcome to the real world, folks.

On the other hand, the only thing I can think of that they're doing wrong might be to redistribute Microsoft patches from their own servers or media. (Not familiar enough with AutoPatcher to know that for sure.) In my own experience as a Windows developer, I've tangled with Microsoft a number of times about being able to redistribute a particular hotfix, etc. - the answer's basically, "no, patches need to come directly from Microsoft."

Re:How 'bout getting that in writing next time? (4, Interesting)

quantum bit (225091) | about 7 years ago | (#20404677)

I have noticed at least one hotfix that's not normally publicly available, but was included with autopatcher. You know, the ones where you go to the KB article and it describes the exact symptoms you're seeing, and when you scroll down to download the patch it says something like:

"We don't think this is a major problem, and people who are having it are obviously too dumb to realize that it's somehow their own fault. Therefore, in order to get this patch, you'll have to call our support line where we will bill you outrageous fees in order to tell you whether you really need the patch or not."
Fortunately, the one I was looking for just happened to be included with autopatcher somehow, so I extracted the file and sure enough it fixed the problem.

Re:Are they making the arguement that..... (4, Funny)

hal2814 (725639) | about 7 years ago | (#20404261)

So Kaladis talked to Microsoft's best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend who heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with a girl who works somewhere in a Microsoft call center who saw Autopatcher in use at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it's pretty ironclad. It's my understanding that they can pursue legal action against Autopatcher at their leisure even if the Microsoft employee in question was accurately reflecting Microsoft-as-a-whole's knowledge of Autopatcher.

Re:Are they making the arguement that..... (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | about 7 years ago | (#20404363)

"Yeah, so I talked to the janitor at MS, and he says he doesnt care... so lets keep AutoPatcher up..."

Goodbye (1)

iminplaya (723125) | about 7 years ago | (#20403839)

to another useful tool that helped sysadmins apply Microsoft's numerous patches.

Hello to a useful alternative operating system. If Microsoft doesn't want our business, we shouldn't give it to them. However, the desire for control of updates is understandable from a liability point of view, although they claim they don't have any...liability that is.

Re:Goodbye (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | about 7 years ago | (#20404127)

Haha. I know many sysadmins who needed to update sufficient systems that an automatic system was required: Number who used SMS/WSUS? Dozens. Number who relied on Autopatcher? None.

Re:Goodbye (1)

Vancorps (746090) | about 7 years ago | (#20404321)

Sounds like Autopatcher was more useful for mobile techs going to places with less than adequate Internet access. Of course such a tech could setup WSUS and just copy all the files to a thumb drive. Most people round here prolly would prefer to just complain about Microsoft. From a liability and quality control standpoint I understand Microsoft's position. Although I would have preferred Microsoft worked with the folks rather than shut them down.

Re:Goodbye (1)

quantum bit (225091) | about 7 years ago | (#20404831)

It's possible to extract the individual patches from WSUS, but it's not very easy to do so, since they're all named as some big long hash value that has nothing to do with the KB number of the patch. So it's very difficult to figure out which ones are even for your OS version / architecture, much less which ones you need.

Are the patch installers still available? (4, Interesting)

LordSnooty (853791) | about 7 years ago | (#20403845)

Autopatcher was really just a front end to all the official MS one-off hotfix exes. If those files are still available, why not adapt the frontend to grab those files from MS instead? Hell, the least MS could do is take on the tech and offer it to their customers with a free WGA check thrown in. Because it was so much easier even for home users with say two machines to update at home, plus mum & dad's, and that one they built for their pal.

Torrents for August release plz?

Re:Are the patch installers still available? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20403917)

Re:Are the patch installers still available? (2, Informative)

shitzu (931108) | about 7 years ago | (#20404167)

http://www.heise-security.co.uk/articles/80682 [heise-security.co.uk] The script downloads the patches from MS site and you can then burn it to cd or copy to usb or network. And apply them all at once. Works like charm.

Coming tomorrow (3, Funny)

faloi (738831) | about 7 years ago | (#20403859)

Microsoft announces a new service available for $50 a seat (check with sales rep for volume licensing) that will allow administrators to do what used to be free from some web sites.

Re:Coming tomorrow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20403921)

Microsoft announces a new service available for $50 a seat (check with sales rep for volume licensing) that will allow administrators to do what used to be free from some web sites.
And I for one would gladly buy it! Or donate that $50 to anyone who seems to be doing a good job of continuing this. Autopatcher was way too useful.

Torrent links here for August ... (5, Informative)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | about 7 years ago | (#20403873)

I noted this on Neowin... (5, Insightful)

8127972 (73495) | about 7 years ago | (#20403885)

"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."

Sure. Whatever. We all know that there's never been a case of malicious code distributed with Autopatcher. So I'm calling it now. Watch M$ come up with their own tool that does the same thing as Autopatcher and watch them find a way to turn it into a revenue stream.

Malicious code slipstreamed (1)

mazanoid (1114617) | about 7 years ago | (#20404057)

By malicious, they steer the conversation away from Vista and say "hey you can download xp updates with firefox now" -- so obviously the malicious code would be vista patches to fix the network mp3 problems and the bluray on 32 bit vista I bet.

=P

Re:I noted this on Neowin... (1)

nutrock69 (446385) | about 7 years ago | (#20404169)

Watch M$ come up with their own tool that does the same thing as Autopatcher and watch them find a way to turn it into a revenue stream.
They already have that. It's called WGA.

It auto-patches your system, then claims it isn't genuine and tells you that you need to buy your operating system again. Instant revenue stream.

Re:I noted this on Neowin... (1)

Arterion (941661) | about 7 years ago | (#20404303)

"...he added that Windows Update for pre-Vista versions of Windows can now be accessed using Firefox..."

How do we do this? I just went to update.microsoft.com and it said I needed IE.

Re:I noted this on Neowin... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 7 years ago | (#20404305)

No, it's nothing to do with Genuine (dis)Advantage. It's because of... um... security! Yeah, that's it!

Re:I noted this on Neowin... (2, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | about 7 years ago | (#20404337)

"I asked the representative if Windows Genuine Advantage had anything to do with it and he categorically told me this was not the case..."

"I am not gay; I never have been gay..."

Re:I noted this on Neowin... (1)

goofyspouse (817551) | about 7 years ago | (#20404523)

Windows Update for pre-Vista versions of Windows can now be accessed using Firefox


Wha?

Thank you for your interest in obtaining updates from our site.
To use this site, you must be running Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 or later.

Re:I noted this on Neowin... (1)

quantum bit (225091) | about 7 years ago | (#20404725)

Watch M$ come up with their own tool that does the same thing as Autopatcher and watch them find a way to turn it into a revenue stream.
They have one, it's called WSUS. It's a "free" download that lets you set up your own mirror for automatic updates. The only problem is that it's so big and bloated (IIS, SQL server, AJAX-ish web page for management) that you pretty much need dedicated hardware (and Windows Server license, ca-ching!) to get any decent performance out of it.

It was good, but (4, Informative)

Toreo asesino (951231) | about 7 years ago | (#20403887)

Patches can be slipstreamed anyway [winsupersite.com] , and for the mother of all 'off-line patching systems' there's Windows Server Update Services [microsoft.com] .

That said, the overall rhetoric of this move still isn't nice. AutoPatcher was at the very least, a handy tool for people that didn't know about the above methods, and to leave it 4 years in the game before sending in the lawyers isn't a nice way of treating the user community. A shame if you ask me.

Re:It was good, but (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 7 years ago | (#20403931)

Microsoft has a long history of fucking over the community. Just remember this the next time one of the whores from Redmond comes around pretending to be our friend.

Re:It was good, but (1)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | about 7 years ago | (#20404033)

Hey! I am one of the whores from redmond. And M$ clients pay me well you insensitive CLOD! As for pretending to be your freind, that's what you all pay me to do!

Re:It was good, but (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 7 years ago | (#20404195)

There have been a number of patches since SP2 came out, and SP2 is a 1-reboot patch anyway, so why would you bother?

But you don't understand what it was good for (4, Insightful)

spun (1352) | about 7 years ago | (#20404197)

Patches can be slipstreamed anyway, and for the mother of all 'off-line patching systems' there's Windows Server Update Services.
Slipstreaming? WSUS? Those are useful in entirely different situations. Autopatcher is for when you are visiting your aunt Tilly and don't want to spend four hours downloading all the latest patches for her over her dialup. Please explain how either of your proposed solutions would be even remotely useful in the very common situation of patching a relative's computer.

Get it done in 15 minutes. (-1, Offtopic)

twitter (104583) | about 7 years ago | (#20404391)

Autopatcher is for when you are visiting your aunt Tilly and don't want to spend four hours downloading all the latest patches for her over her dialup.

Next time, just bring a CD [mepis.org] .

Re:But you don't understand what it was good for (1)

HoosierPeschke (887362) | about 7 years ago | (#20404589)

I do an update via VMware. I wrote a script for apache that displays all hits (through squid) to Windows Update. I then download the files manually. I use the via a perl logon script I have for my Samba domain (which is easily portable to a flash drive) which does silent updates with logging, so if something doesn't take, I can just install manually. With the consideration of autopatcher going down, I may release said scripts so other geeks can still have a useful way to help non-geeks. Did I mention this is the easiest way to get the notorious rootsupd.exe and any Windows Update updates? Which in turn can be used for slipstreaming [hfslip.org] .

If anyone wants it, e-mail me and I'll bzip it up for ya with some instructions (uses squid and perl enabled apache, which if I get enough requests I'll convert to php).

Re:It was good, but (3, Interesting)

NMerriam (15122) | about 7 years ago | (#20404743)

Patches can be slipstreamed anyway [winsupersite.com], and for the mother of all 'off-line patching systems' there's Windows Server Update Services [microsoft.com].


Yeah, except that neither of those things does what autopatcher does. I don't want to have to reinstall the whole OS just to keep patches up to date, and I don't want to have to lay ethernet cable several hundred miles to my relatives' homes in order to patch them quickly from a server I control.

The donkey of the comuting industry... (1)

Aaron5367 (1049126) | about 7 years ago | (#20403907)

Well this is just retarded... Once again a corporate donkey just uses their money and power to shutdown a project that is very helpful, again... Can't wait to see what they start shutting down next... I can see something stupid like alternative search engines coming up.

Re:The donkey of the comuting industry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20404315)

When was money used to complete this action? They had legal grounds to do it - even the folks at neowin said so. Any "power" they used was _well_ within their rights to use.

Microsoft (2, Interesting)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 7 years ago | (#20403927)

There is no reasonable alternative to the AutoPatcher from Microsoft, and Microsoft is threatened by revelation of hundred patches for a clean/new install of XP (wSP2).

Apple and Linux, he we come!

Not so (0, Redundant)

Toreo asesino (951231) | about 7 years ago | (#20403953)

*shameless copy & paste*

"Patches can be slipstreamed anyway [winsupersite.com] , and for the mother of all 'off-line patching systems' there's Windows Server Update Services [microsoft.com] ."

Re:Not so (1)

baboonlogic (989195) | about 7 years ago | (#20404333)

*shameless copy & paste*

"Patches can be slipstreamed anyway [winsupersite.com] , and for the mother of all 'off-line patching systems' there's Windows Server Update Services [microsoft.com] ."
Does Windows Server Update Services help me download the updates at my college and apply them at home?

As for slipstreaming, the link you copy-pasted allows you to slipstream sp2 not patches after that. Autopatcher used to give you only the post-sp2 updates anyway. Wanna re-install? Pop in the sp2 slipstreamed cd, do an unattended install, throw in the latest autopatcher and thats it... you are through.

By the way, does anyone know a convenient way to slipstream anything more than sp2 *reliably* onto a bootable disc?

Slipstreaming & WSUS are not equivalent (1)

Noksagt (69097) | about 7 years ago | (#20404341)

Slipstreaming, so far as I understand, solves only installation (or, at the least, would not be as space-efficient as a tool that was only for updates).

WSUS still requires a network.

There are non-networked PCs or PCs with slow/intermittent network connections that must be kept updated too. AutoPatcher addressed this niche quite well. So what to use instead?

Re:Not so (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20404427)

Slipstreaming is great...if you plan on reinstalling your OS. Not for updating an already-installed OS.

WSUS is also great...if you have a large number of machines and are willing to install a DMZ so that your server can connect to Windows Update to download patches. Oh yes...and if you have a Win2k3 Server lying around.

Both of these fail in the following circumstances:
(A) Home users with intermittent or poor network connections. Not all Windows Updates are related to security.
(B) Small corporate networks that don't have a 2k3 server to dedicate to this purpose, or just a few machines.
(C) Administrators that have a completely offline network. Again, there are Windows Updates that are not solely security-related. Autopatcher meant you could download a full set of updates that could be installed in one internal location and then used from the network (or on discs). WSUS *could* be used this way, but it involves either downloading and propagating your WSUS database manually on another machine, or connecting the WSUS machine to the internet, then disconnecting it and moving it back other. The latter is an unacceptable hack, and the former is doing the same thing as Autopatcher with the additional annoyance of trying to get the patches from all over MS and then having to move them to WSUS.

My bet is that, yes, MS will start sending out some sort of "Monthly Update Rollup" packages soon. Probably for a subscription fee. The human tongue is not capable of uttering the complex profanities this has inspired.

Re:Not so (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 7 years ago | (#20404505)

Running WSUS isn't a solution to deploying fully patched computers. WSUS keeps them patched, but is still sucks at initial patching.

What I'm talking about is WinXP clean install that is fully patched. I used NON-MICROSOFT products to keep my installers fully patched, because Microsoft STILL doesn't provide a tool to do that for me.

I use WDS (RIS) to deploy WinXP over the wire, but I sill have to MANUALLY patch (slipstream) the install. To maintain that, I used NLITE and Autopatcher combination to keep my installer upto date.

With patches coming on a regular schedule, why can't microsoft provide a tool that does what I do, that automatically slipstreams a WDS XP deployment, using WSUS even?

Re:Not so (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 7 years ago | (#20404755)

"Patches can be slipstreamed anyway, and for the mother of all 'off-line patching systems' there's Windows Server Update Services."

I can't believe you think these two things could possibly replace AutoPatcher. The linked article on slipstreaming just applies SP2 to a non-SP2 CD, so there are only a few thousand updates that I'd have to download/apply afterwards [or manually jury-rig some setup to slipstream MS's patches onto a CD every month, assuming there is some way to do this, as the article only describes getting SP2 slipstreamed]. And like 99.999% of home users, I don't run Windows Server, so it's still individual downloads for each computer. Autopatcher is a simple, one-stop solution to updating multiple XP installs with the latest patches, with a single download and running a single application once per month on each of my machines. It's saved me literally days waiting to download and apply patches for reinstalls.

I refuse to consider using MS's auto-updating mechanism because it refuses to follow my directions [and not just because each machine has to individually download each patch separately]. It still will secretly install/update software without permission and annoy me with reboot requirements randomly.

Re:Microsoft (0, Troll)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | about 7 years ago | (#20404201)

There's not? You've not heard of WSUS, apparently. Oh, and why would they be threatened? How many patches exist for clean RHEL systems?

Re:Microsoft (1)

Twanfox (185252) | about 7 years ago | (#20404299)

As someone else said, WSUS is really not useful for when you go visit a relative and all they have is dialup. Where's the WSUS server in that setup? Oh ya.

Re:Microsoft (0, Troll)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 7 years ago | (#20404623)

See my post above.

I use WSUS and WDS(RIS) all the time. WSUS isn't the panacea it is made out to be, and WDS is a god send, when deploying fully patched Windows, but that requires slipstreaming the install, something WSUS doesn't do.

Windizupdate (3, Informative)

witte (681163) | about 7 years ago | (#20403949)

You can find windows updates thru http://windizupdate.62nds.com/ [62nds.com]
I hardly use IE, and this updates through Firefox.
Which is of course very neat. *cough*firefox fan*cough*

Oh Yeah? (0, Offtopic)

kc2keo (694222) | about 7 years ago | (#20404277)

So how does this affect the state of Linux... :P --Mod--Offtopic!

Re:Windizupdate (1)

Bob The Cowboy (308954) | about 7 years ago | (#20404519)

I'm sure Windiz a great tool, but AutoPatcher is useful especially in cases where the net connection is "sneakernet" or dialup. Download it, burn it to a CD, and you can take it with you anywhere. We use it at my work to be able to patch systems before they go online. Also good for taking to relative who lives out in the middle of nowhere. Windiz doesn't help in those situations.

Re:Windizupdate (1)

HyperQuantum (1032422) | about 7 years ago | (#20404641)

You can find windows updates thru http://windizupdate.62nds.com/ [62nds.com] I hardly use IE, and this updates through Firefox.

I just tried it here (on Linux) and I get the following message:

Unsupported Browser

Thank you for your interest in WindizUpdate

This free website allows users of Mozilla Firefox 0.9.3, Netscape 4.0, Mozilla Firebird 0.7, Opera 5, or K-Meleon 0.9, to keep their copy of Windows up-to-date. Newer releases of these browsers are also suitable.


Are they doing an OS check or something? My browser is FF 2.0.0 so it fullfills the requirements they list.

Re:Windizupdate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20404791)

Are they doing an OS check or something?

If you click on 'known issues' it looks like it relies on a windows specific plugin (and only supports 32 bit windows as well)

From Neowin (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20403969)

I had a call from Microsoft Legal this morning and they have told me that we are no longer allowed to endorse AutoPatcher on Neowin.

Microsoft will only allow updates to be downloaded from its own servers.

AutoPatcher started in 2003 and has been redistributed in some of the worlds best computer magazine cover CD/DVD's. I have no explanation for why Microsoft allowed it to continue unchecked for 4 years before making this decision.

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.

We have no grounds to challenge the decision by Microsoft.

I'd like to thank the whole AutoPatcher team for their continued work, unfortunately none of the team is online, but they have been contacted via the AutoPatcher.com website by Microsoft Legal.

The AutoPatcher forums on Neowin have been disabled for guests and members.

Update: A Microsoft representative has told Neowin that he is looking into the matter and will try to get some answers. More to follow.

It seems like a reasonable request.

Autopatcher FAQ's now out of date (1)

Mr. BS (788514) | about 7 years ago | (#20404117)

'Tis a sad sad day! Thanks for everyone's work on the project!

But... you might want to update the FAQ's on the website. Looks a little funny now!

Q: Is AutoPatcher legal?
A:
Yes, Antonis Kaladis (our project manager) once spoke to a Microsoft employee and apparently they know about us but don't care what we do! The AutoPatcher project has been going strong since 2003 and never had a sniff of trouble from Microsoft.

AutoPatcher needs to think "business" instead (2, Insightful)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | about 7 years ago | (#20404143)

They could have avoided a lot of trouble, if they had just signed up as a Microsoft Partner. It costs nothing and would have made them "a co-player" rather than a "security risk".

- Jesper

Well yes BUT (1)

Skiron (735617) | about 7 years ago | (#20404487)

... would have to vote YES for ooxml at a cost of $25,000 to join up.

I would rather shut down.

Re:Well yes BUT (1)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | about 7 years ago | (#20404643)

I think your statement is just a bit troll-ish and unfair (not enough to be moderated down though).

While I agree that the OOXML approval process in certain countries sucks ass, that is not in itself a proof that *ALL* Microsoft Partners are dishonorable.

Re:Well yes BUT (1)

Skiron (735617) | about 7 years ago | (#20404693)

I don't think Microsoft Partners have a say to be honest - they either have to adhere to MS [un]ethical way of working or they become ex-Microsoft Partners.

Re:Well yes BUT (1)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | about 7 years ago | (#20404833)

Untrue. And I could give you many examples. For now I will just stick with one: DotNetNuke [dotnetnuke.com] , an OpenSource and free CMS of quite good quality for the .NET platform. They make a great product, have a good community, give their product away for free (free as in "beer), and supply the sourcecode along with it with a semi-free (as in "freedom") license which compares somewhat to an LGPL.

Can you please describe to me, in what way you think they are evil?
(because I surely can't see it).

Missing the obvious (3, Funny)

Sefert (723060) | about 7 years ago | (#20404165)

You are all missing the obvious reason for the shutdown. Microsoft has finally fixed all the bugs! Celebrate!

Why does Microsoft hate their users? (2, Insightful)

Snowtide (989191) | about 7 years ago | (#20404215)

We give them the vast majority of our IT budgets, we try to keep believeing in them and still they hate us......

Shenanigans (4, Insightful)

krgallagher (743575) | about 7 years ago | (#20404247)

"Microsoft legal says that it has nothing to do with Windows Genuine Advantage. "

I call Shenanigans!

Can we get an auto downloader for these updates? (3, Insightful)

Noksagt (69097) | about 7 years ago | (#20404267)

The reason for the ban:

Microsoft will only allow updates to be downloaded from its own servers.
That's certainly MS's right. A technical objection is that one could use cryptographic hashes/signing so that the download source wouldn't matter (and wouldn't it be caveat emptor if users didn't go to MS for updates?), but c'est la vie.

But why can't we make this even vaguely win-win? Provide a utility that will download ALL of these updates (whether the machine thought they were applied or not) directly from MS for use on removable media.

What alternatives are there for those on dial up (or other cases of no or intermittent network connection)? For those who have had malware make edits to their hosts file and/or browser security settings that make obtaining updates directly from MS on the computer they're updating difficult?

Re:Can we get an auto downloader for these updates (1)

Xybre (527810) | about 7 years ago | (#20404597)

I was under the impression that all the updates are still contain their digital signatures, so anyone can verify their veracity.

Re:Can we get an auto downloader for these updates (1)

Noksagt (69097) | about 7 years ago | (#20404763)

I was under the impression that all the updates are still contain their digital signatures, so anyone can verify their veracity.
I believe that you're right. My real point was that those signatures should obviate any concerns about the patches being distributed by third parties.

Do what Microsoft do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20404367)

Just move actual distribution to TPB and use the autopatcher site to hand out free vouchers for direct download links and 'support'.

Still many useful tools (4, Informative)

ThanatosMinor (1046978) | about 7 years ago | (#20404387)

I have found that a combination of Heise Security's ctupdate [heise-security.co.uk] and nLite [nliteos.com] can be used to create a very nice custom Windows installation CD that not only includes any updates you choose to include, but you can also specify a large number of custom registry settings that will be set when you install.
Is very nice

Microsoft is immune to bad press (4, Interesting)

rbanzai (596355) | about 7 years ago | (#20404473)

Microsoft is so large and its userbase so enormous that no amount of bad press can affect them. Anything short of eating live babies would not impact them in the slightest.

Shutting down Autopatcher is nothing to them and will not affect their business in even a negligible fashion.

I would like to think otherwise but I can't. They are unstoppable.

I just used this to fix a xp media center system (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 7 years ago | (#20404475)

That I did a repair install on and was not able to install windows updates after running auto patcher windows update now works.

Now THAT'S customer service! (2, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | about 7 years ago | (#20404521)

So much for small business and residential users in rural areas [slashdot.org] . You know, this will hurt ONLY paying customers; not the "pirates" downloading slipstreamed ISOs off of IRC and torrent networks (or buying "pirated" CDs in the streets, etc). This also hurts small businesses on cable and DSL connections where there are "unspecified" download caps to their "unlimited" internet services.

  Congratulations, Microsoft. You've shut down yet another tool useful for installing and deploying legitimate Windows, thereby increasing the value of "pirated" Windows offerings AND provided more reasons for users to choose alternatives such as Linux, OS X, and BSD. Good move there.

Why not actually, oh, I don't know, innovate some new features for Windows rather than harassing small third-party developers who offer FREE utilities to make YOUR piece of crap offering easier to manage? Like, say, I dunno, work on a better filesystem [slashdot.org] or something.

This is a perfect example... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20404551)

...of what happens when you use non-free software. No matter what you do: if you use non-free software, it'll bite you in the ass one day. Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but the day will come.

I can't believe no one's mentioned this yet... (1)

Eddy Da KillaBee (727499) | about 7 years ago | (#20404575)

They might not listen, or they might -- who knows? <a href="https://support.microsoft.com/common/survey. aspx?scid=sw;en-gb;1348&showpage=1&WS=mscomukform1 ">Let Microsoft know about the mistake they're making by writing to them!</a> (I found the link at the torrent site for AutoPatcher.)

What about the DVD ISO on MS's download page? (5, Informative)

Arctech (538041) | about 7 years ago | (#20404583)

I haven't heard of this before, (just found it, actually), but would this be a reasonable facsimile?
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=913086&SD=tech [microsoft.com]

You're missing the point! (2, Interesting)

WarwickRyan (780794) | about 7 years ago | (#20404585)

It's about security: if you're not downloading the patches direct from Microsoft, there's more of a chance of them being compromised. Sure, it may not have happened yet but that's not to say it won't happen in the future.

Now what would be useful, is for Microsoft themselves to make it very easy for you to download and burn an 'windows update' DVD that'll take each version of XP up to date. Downloadable direct from Microsoft.

Alternatively, they could offer hashes for the downloads on Microsoft's servers, which Autopatcher can be pointed at in order to verify the downloads.

Had they done that, then they'd avoid all the negative PR!

Total cost of ownership (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20404615)

So I guess now that they have retired the "Get the facts" campaign, Microsoft is actively increasing the total cost of ownership of Windows? After all, they are shutting down a free tool that presumably saved their clients thousands of man-hours.

They may claim that the shutdown is not about WGA, but I can't see what other reason they would have, other than that AutoPatcher competes with some as-yet-unreleased Microsoft product.

Quick, to the mirrors! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20404827)

Google for 'autopatcher mirror' and grab what you can, while you can.

I'm downloading the core file for August '07 right now. At least I'll be able to get a fresh XPSP2 install pretty well updated with what I've got.

Microsoft, you are truly a bunch of stupid assholes. You actively seek out ways to create ill will among the people who have to support your shitty software.
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