A patch is a software update that affects only the component (or potentially that portion of a component) that needs to be updated to resolve an issue.
Rather than updating a complete and potentially very large product for a small number of fixes, patching only updates the components affected, resulting in a much smaller download or installation.
Patching typically happens either of two ways:
Technically, only the second technique might be called patching, since it’s applying a repair to an existing file without replacing it. The term is, however, typically extended to include patching a product installation by replacing individual files without reinstalling a new version of the application.« Back to Glossary Index