In association with heise online

30 August 2007, 16:40

Microsoft puts kibosh on external Windows update tool

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Microsoft is exercising increasing vigour in its pursuit of unauthorised distributors of its updates. The latest victim is the popular Autopatcher application, which includes Microsoft software patches. Following a call from Microsoft's legal department, the developers decided to remove the download page and announce the termination of the project. Back in March Microsoft warned that they no longer intended to tolerate the unauthorised distribution of updates, as a result of which a number of update collections, such as the WinBoard collection, were withdrawn.

Steven Parker, who ran download pages and a forum on Autopatcher, apparently received a similar call and also shut these down. He speculated as to whether this was related to Autopatcher including patches for which a WGA test would be required before downloading. Microsoft vigorously denies this and cites the risk that someone could insert malicious software into a patch collection as the reason for its actions.

In enterprise environments at least, downloading security updates from third party websites should be absolutely taboo anyway. This is one of the reasons why heise Security's offline update takes a different approach, enabling administrators to download the original patches from Microsoft once and burn themselves a CD or DVD, with which they can then update all their PCs without requiring an internet connection. The article DIY Service Pack: Installing Windows updates without an internet connection describes the offline update in detail.


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