Patch vs Hotfix vs Maintenance Release vs Service Pack

Just a note, I think this explanation of differences between Patch vs. Hotfix vs. Maintenance Release vs. Service Pack which easy to understand (for me).


Publicly released update to fix a known bug/issue.


Update to fix a very specific issue, not always publicly released.

Maintenance Release

Incremental update between service packs or software versions to fix multiple outstanding issues.

Service Pack

Large Update that fixes many outstanding issues, normally includes all Patches, Hotfixes, Maintenance releases that predate the service pack.

“That being said that isn’t how we do updates at all. We just increment the version and/or build number (which is based on the date) and just call it an “Update”. For most software I find that easier, you can easily see that one computer is running 1.1.50 vs 1.2.25 and know which is newer.” – TonyB, someone on

And you may hittin’ the source here.