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What is Patch?


A patch of fix is a quick-repair job for a piece of programming. A patch is the immediate solution that is provided to users; it can sometimes be downloaded from the software maker's Web site. The patch is not necessarily the best solution for the problem and the product developers often find a better solution to provide when they package the product for its next release.

A patch is usually developed and distributed as a replacement for or an insertion in compiled code. In larger operating systems, a special program is provided to manage and keep track of the installation of patches.

A fix to a program. In the past, a patch used to mean changing actual executable, machine instructions, but today more often than not, it means replacing an executable module in its entirety such as an .EXE or .DLL file. Although the term typically refers to fixing a problem, it may also refer to a general enhancement. The same procedure is often used to add bug fixes to software as it is to add feature enhancements; thus, "applying patches" may refer to both kinds of modifications.

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