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Vendor patch

(also software patch)

Vendor patch definition

A vendor patch is a piece of code or software update provided by a software vendor (e.g., developer) to fix or improve a specific aspect of their software. These patches are typically released to address security vulnerabilities, fix software bugs or glitches, enhance functionality, or make other improvements to the software. Vendor patches are incredibly important — without regular updates, systems and apps are more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Always install vendor patches as soon as they become available.

See also: patch

How do vendor patches work?

  • Vendors identify software problems, like security vulnerabilities or bugs.
  • Developers create code changes to fix these problems.
  • Patches are thoroughly tested by quality assurance teams to ensure they work without issues.
  • Vendors provide information about what the patch does and make the patches available to download and install.
  • Users or automated systems apply patches to their software.
  • Both vendors and users monitor the software's performance.
  • Vendors may offer support to users for a specified period, known as the software’s lifecycle.

Types of vendor patches

  • Security patches are critical for protecting against cyberattacks or data breaches.
  • Bug fixes address software glitches or errors that affect the program's functionality or user experience.
  • Performance patches improve how the software works (e.g., enhancing speed or optimizing memory).
  • Compatibility patches address problems that arise when the software doesn’t work with other software, hardware, or operating system updates.
  • Feature updates (also known as enhancement patches or software updates) introduce new features or improvements to the software.
  • Service packs are comprehensive updates that may include a combination of security patches, bug fixes, and feature enhancements.
  • Hotfixes are small, targeted patches that address specific critical issues without a full software update.