By Rob Dunn
Contributing Writer, [GAS]
Autopatcher, a frequently updated project devoted to compiling all the Windows Updates into a single installation package (geared toward offline system updating and quick system rebuilds), has been shut down by Microsoft as of yesterday (08/29/07).
Citing security and intellectual property as reasons for the action, Microsoft contacted the site owners of Autopatcher and Neowin.net (which housed an Autopatcher support forum) with a legal takedown notice, demanding that the download and support pages be removed immediately. As a result (as if there could be any other outcome), downloads and support forums were taken down as of yesterday afternoon.
A note on SynergyMX‘s website reflects exactly what I was already thinking:
The security giant declined to explain the timing of decision, leaving critics to suggest that getting rid of a service that allowed users to obtain patches without Windows Genuine Advantage controls might be among the reasons behind the move.
While I can appreciate the reasoning behind the action (especially coming from a “security giant”), I don’t think that distributing MS patches is a criminal offense. If people want to download unauthorized patches, then let them do it. After all, they will be the ones to deal with support if anything breaks. With that said however, Autopatcher was very reputable, and had a huge fanbase, especially with those fed up with the love-it or hate-it Windows Update service.
Check out the Neowin forums for the ongoing discussion as some are trying to organize a ‘fight back’ campaign. I wish them the best, but my guess is that it will be a futile effort… Either way, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
Potential news that the Autopatcher project could continue under Microsoft’s direction? See here for details…