In a move that may be unpopular among Microsoft detractors, the powerful Redmond-based Company sent a cease-and-desist letter to owners of the popular Windows Update application, AutoPatcher.

"Today we received an email from Microsoft, requesting the immediate take-down of the download page, which of course means that AutoPatcher is probably history," said Antonis Kaladis, the AutoPatcher author. "As much as we disagree, we can do very little, and although the download page is merely a collection of mirrors, we took the download page down."

AutoPatcher allows users to collect Windows updates from the company's update service and then package them together for use on multiple machines.

Each month, all Windows and Office updates would be added to the packages for user use at another time. This month, Kaladis and his team of volunteers added support for Office XP, 2003 and 2007.

The Microsoft takedown email was posted to the Neowin.net forum that AutoPatcher used for its user support. "Microsoft has received information that the domain listed above, which appears to be on servers under your control, is offering unlicensed copies of, or is engaged in other unauthorized activities relating to copyrighted works published by Microsoft," the email read.

"We hereby give notice of these activities to you and request that you take expeditious action to remove or disable access to the material described above, and thereby prevent the illegal reproduction and distribution of this software via your company's network."

Microsoft has sent similar order to other patch-related Web sites in the past and in April, Hotfix.net was shutdown for posting over 100 hotfixes that were expected to be a part of Vista Service Pack 1.

So far, Kaladis has no intention of relaunching the AutoPatcher application.