In computing, a service pack or SP (in short SP) or a feature pack (FP) comprises a collection of updates, fixes, or enhancements to a software program delivered in the form of a single installable package. Companies often release a service pack when the number of individual patches to a given program reaches a certain (arbitrary) limit, or the software release has shown to be stabilized with a limited number of remaining issues based on users' feedback and bug tracking such as bugzilla. In large software applications such as office suites, operating systems, database software, or network management, it is not uncommon to have a service pack issued within the first year or two of a product's release. Installing a service pack is easier and less error-prone than installing many individual patches, even more so when updating multiple computers over a network, where service packs are common.
Service packs are usually numbered, and thus shortly referred to as SP1, SP2, SP3 etc. They may also bring, besides bug fixes, entirely new features, as is the case of SP2 of Windows XP, or SP3 and SP4 of the heavily database dependent Trainz 2009:World Builder edition.
Incremental and cumulative SPs
Service Packs for Microsoft Windows were cumulative through Windows XP. This means that the problems that are fixed in a service pack are also fixed in later service packs. For example, Windows XP SP3 contains all the fixes that are included in Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2).Cite error: A
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Decline of service packs
Service packs for versions of Microsoft Windows have been declining.
- Windows 2000 has 4 service packs: SP1, SP2, SP3, and SP4.
- Windows XP has 3 service packs: SP1, SP2, and SP3.
- Windows Vista has 2 service packs: SP1 and SP2.
- Windows 7 has 1 service pack: SP1.
- Windows 8, 8.1, and 10 have updates that replaced service packs.
- Adaptation Kit Update
- Apple Software Update
- IBM Program temporary fix
- Point release
- Slipstream (computing)
- Software release life cycle
- Windows Update
- One counterexample is Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Service Pack 3a
- Example of Service Pack list of changes for a multi-module/multi-mode software product: Trainz SP2 involved feature changes and bug fixes
- Trainz Railway Simulators Service Packs Table versus major release version titles
- Microsoft Support Lifecycle (includes Microsoft's service pack policy)
- Microsoft Service Packs
- Windows Service Packs
- List of fixes that are included in Windows XP Service Pack 3