Microsoft Ceases AutoPatcher Project

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 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.

Link: Forum Announcement + Discussion
View: Announcement @

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bangbang023 said,
Do you even realize the relationship we have with Microsoft and how much both sides give and take? Have you also forgotten about us getting shut down in the past?

Really? And what exactly is that relationship? Because from were I’m standing, it certainly looks very one sided.

You guys (at Neowin) have certainly given a lot. You help people a place to talk about and hype up a lot of Microsoft’s products. In my opinion, that’s free advertising, the kind that you can’t just go out and buy. You offer assistance on bugs and problems in THEIR software.

And what have they given you. Nothing. They don’t give you anymore information or help then the rest of us.

Doesn’t seem very give and take to me.

Access to information before release and the ability to keep it online. Invites to various press events that only go out to select media outlets. Direct communication with various MS personnel that are mid way up the MS food chain. It goes on.

bangbang023 said,

The greatest sign of ignorance on the subject is when the OP replies with something sarcastic and void of any intelligence. My point is proven.

No, it's a sign that I don't care what you think of my opinion

Gersson said,

No, it's a sign that I don't care what you think of my opinion

If you're not willing to engage in a discussion, then please leave.

I just sent this to MS, you can use it as a base message too if you'd like.

Dear Microsoft,

Recently your company decided to request that Autopatcher {see} (A project ran/supported by Neowin) cease development, this is a terrible shame as the developers of this tool have contacted Microsoft themselves prior to this and asked if it was ok to develop such tools to which the reply was yes it is fine, and thus the potential stability, security and well being of windows XP system have stayed in prime condition for 4 years now whether having internet access or not. I am just one of the many hundreds of thousands of people who benefited greatly from Autopatcher, I was able to quickly and easily update many freshly (and I should mention legally) installed Windows XP systems even before they go online, thus thoroughly protecting the system from the offset. It would be a great shame to lose such a great administration tool when the best interests and whole concept are to protect users of your operating systems in a user friendly package. All I ask is that you please re-consider your decision and if necessary discuss with the autopatcher team on alternatives you would happily abide by.


I'm sure once this news hit Neowin that many e-mails similar to yours went out to Microsoft. Although I bet many of them won't sound as professional more like:

"OMGzors M$....are you people phreaking stupid or what???" followed by a bunch of words you can't say on Neowin

I'm not even going to try to think of how many legit Windows computers I've updated using Autopatcher. It just made it a lot easier.

This has completely ruined my day.

As a network administrator this tool has proven to be a godsend on many occasions. This is especially true when no WSUS server is online and bandwidth is scarce. Autopatcher was always there to come to the rescue. I can't understand why MS would want this project pulled... I just don't understand it. Maybe MS is planning a similar project of their own?

I dont think that might worked on them, Nile.

But I m really sad to see autopatcher meeting its end. I like to used Autopatcher to get my customer PC done in no time by upgrading its patches faster. Window Update only causes a big problem only upgrading from fresh PC and totally dislike it when it comes to problem. Microsoft just want to make the customers looks bad by wasting their time on updating their crappy update and moreover not everyone in the world owned the faster broadband connections.

Shame of Microsoft and you piece of xxxxxxxxxkers!!! Autopatches should not end!

It is easy enough to search for the updates manually. Then you can add them into the code yourself. MS and their WGA can go stuff themselves.

This is pretty sad. Myself and some other people (IT's in the Ontario gov.) use this piece of software to deliver patches to remote sites that cannot access LAN/WAN's and therefore don't have the speed capabilities to download updates. Microsoft has yet to offer a service such as Autopatcher, so we have been using it ever since I came across it. I will tell you one thing, I will be speaking to our Microsoft Canada contact in regards to this, that's for sure.

I wonder if enough users revolted here about this decision, if neowin would take the same direction as digg?

As for the actual program, hopefully, Microsoft will take over it. Maybe build upon it and make it there own. Probably not though...

Whilst I share many of the feelings that people have expressed here I can't understand why Neowin was so fast to close the forum section related to Autopatcher, unless the links within the threads would, of course, have compromised their position in regarding the notice given by Microsoft..? If that is part of the reason then, imo, in respect for both the creators and supporters of this invaluable tool then I would hope that Neowin would create an Autopatcher section again, where no links would be provided, but at least people would have somewhere to post their grievances on what has been done.
Under the constraints of what would be possible to post, and yet comply with Microsoft's order, it might seem a little pointless to create that forum section however it might just offer a symbolic gesture, until something else could be possible, to show recognition to all those involved in making Autopatcher the success that is has become.

Just a thought, or two.

This morning, i went to Neowin's AutoPatcher forum and i got an error. Then i saw the pinned news post. Microsoft has sent us a C&D order.
After reading all the news, i wondered: why were the forums closed and we didn't even got a email/PM? Wasn't enough just to remove all the download links? Why all the forum?

I want to say thanks to all of you who used AutoPatcher and are supporting us.

We didn't encourage nor support piracy. The programs that needed WGA weren't installed if the Windows version wasn't legitimate. Could people without legitimate Windows install all the hotfixes? Sure. And can anyone with a pirate copy of Windows grab a WGA crack and use Windows Update/Download Center and install all of the hotfixes + extras? Yes.

We were helping people with the trouble of updating computers in a automated way. We weren't doing this for money. All the time that we spent helping Windows users and didn't receive money. It was a freeware project.

I'm really sad and don't quite understand why Microsoft only now sent a C&D. We were (for some weeks) in conversations with Neowin for the possible move the forums to our own servers. And now this...

I've seen a lot of news coverage and while they do support AutoPatcher in theory and cover it in press their position is rather neutral.

Maybe now it's time for us to really move to our own forums.

Wouldn't it be terrible if someone leave a burning brown paper bag stuffed with dog turd by the front door at Microsofts Redmond campus

Reasoning aside, AutoPatcher could well sidestep the legal roadblock by a simple but unproductive workaround. Microsoft argues updates should only be downloaded from the official Microsoft servers to prevent third-party modification, therefore AutoPatcher could instead of pre-bundling the updates, just fetch the updates from Microsoft’s own servers (HTTP downloads) to form a similar package on the user’s own computers at runtime. Might take a bit longer, but you can end up with the same package. As far as I know, you’re still allowed to archive Windows updates, thankfully.

Now if autopatcher still doesnt come back only the autopatcher team can be blamed. This is completely allowable by microsoft if you do it the way as quoted above. It would also save the autopatcher team significant bandwith.


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