Patching off-network PCs with AutoPatcher

remote sites cd -v49 One of the cleverest guys I’ve ever worked with, came up with a idea to provide patch updates on compact disc.
It allowed our home office users to pickup a disc from us, and apply the updates on their home PCs.  This was before the wide spread use of broadband internet, and Windows Update.

It was called “Remote Sites CD”.  A picture of it’s main screen is on the right.

As you can see, it had four options

  1. Install security patches
  2. Install an anti-virus product
  3. Install an anti-virus update
  4. Remove CA Unicenter product (RRS)

Option 4 was a popular option.  You’d understand if you ever used the CA Unicenter suite of programs.

But today, lets talk about option 1, installing security patches.

If you had a copy of Remote Sites CD, it would make your live really simple.  But I can’t share a copy of the “Remote Sites CD” with you because

  1. it’s proprietary, and
  2. I don’t have a copy anymore.

But there is a freeware alternative which looks impressive.

AutoPatcher

Much like “Remote Sites CD”, Autopatcher allows you to download a set of patches once, and apply them to multiple PCs.  Typically PCs which don’t have a network connection.  Or a slow network link.

I ran it up on a Windows 2000 SP4 machine I have here.

First, before the patch count:
Windows Update Before Autopatcher - 59 High Priority
(59 High Priority)

After running AutoPatcher:
Windows Update After Autopatcher
(8 High Priority)

“Why is there still 8 to go???”, I hear you ask.

Essentially this months security patches, and some non-security patches (Internet Explorer 6 SP1).

What do you need to do to run AutoPatcher:

  1. Download it.
  2. Select the patches you want to download (via apup.exe)
    selecting downloads with apup
    Apup will download the files
    apup downloading patches
  3. Burn AutoPatcher to DVD
    I ran it from a network share, and it seemed to work just as well.
  4. Run AutoPatcher.exe.
    You be asked want you want to install.
    autopatcher - eula autopatcher - verifying patchesautopatcher - installing
  5. Reboot at the end, and you’re all done!
    autopatcher - finished

You can download AutoPatcher here.

If you are just updating Windows XP clients, PatchMate XP might be an alternative. (Sept. 2009: site permanently down)

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