Remember the free AutoPatcher application that Microsoft shutdown back in August? It was a rather nifty program that had all of the Windows Updates offered in a single download. You could burn them to CD, and take them from one computer to another installing the updates. The time it can save administrators is huge, but Microsoft didn’t like the fact that their updates were being redistributed.

The developer of AutoPatcher wasn’t about to throw in the towel, and decided that he needed to make the program download the updates straight from Microsoft. There is now an AutoPatcher Beta (no installation required) available that utilizes the new download technique, but updates are currently only available for Windows XP, 2000, and 2003:

AutoPatcher Updates AutoPatcher Download

I do find it a bit ironic that Microsoft shutdown the project, and now they are the ones who have to foot the bill for the bandwidth. From a user’s perspective that is good news because the downloads are lightning fast! After the downloads are completed you’ll still be able to burn them to a CD or DVD so that they can easily be installed on dozens of computers.

I tried the new AutoPatcher by downloading the updates for Microsoft Office, but it ran into a problem when trying to download one of the updates. Naturally you would think that it would just skip over any non-responsive downloads, but the program just sat there. I’m sure by the time AutoPatcher is in final form the bugs like this will have been fixed.

Alternatively there is the Heise Security Offline Updater (free and doesn’t require installation) which supports Windows 2000, XP, Server 2003, and Vista. For each of the different Operating Systems it has several different languages to choose from, and just like the new AutoPatcher it will download the updates straight from Microsoft. Heise Security Offline Updater also includes a separate client application for updating the computers which I’ve found rather easy to use.

Get the New AutoPatcher Beta [via Download Squad & gHacks]