This article describes the standard terminology that Microsoft is adopting to describe software updates.
Microsoft is adopting the following standard terminology to describe software updates:
Definition: A connector is a software component that is designed to support connections between software.
- Critical Update
Definition: A critical update is a broadly released fix for a specific problem that addresses a critical, non-security-related bug.
Additional information: Critical updates are available for customers to download and are accompanied by a Microsoft Knowledge Base article.
- Development Kit
Definition: A development kit is software that is designed to help developers write new programs. Development kits typically include a visual builder, an editor, and a compiler.
Definition: A driver is a software component that is designed to support new hardware.
- Feature Pack
Definition: A feature pack is new product functionality that is first distributed outside the context of a product release and that is typically included in the next full product release.
Definition: Guidance includes scripts, sample code, and technical documentation that is designed to help deploy and use a product or a technology.
Definition: A hotfix is a single, cumulative package that includes one or more files that are used to address a problem in a product and are cumulative at the binary and file level. A hotfix addresses a specific customer situation and may not be distributed outside the customer's organization.
Additional information: Hotfixes are distributed by Microsoft Customer Service and Support. Customers may not redistribute hotfixes without written, legal consent from Microsoft.
- Security Update
Definition: A security update is a widely released fix for a product-specific, security-related vulnerability. Security vulnerabilities are rated based on their severity. The severity rating is indicated in the Microsoft security bulletin as critical, important, moderate, or low.
Additional information: Microsoft security updates are available for customers to download and are accompanied by two documents: a security bulletin and a Microsoft Knowledge Base article.
For more information about the format of Microsoft Knowledge Base articles for Microsoft security updates, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:824689 Description of the format of Microsoft Knowledge Base articles for Microsoft Security Updates
- Service Pack
Definition: A service pack is a tested, cumulative set of all hotfixes, security updates, critical updates, and updates. Service packs may also contain additional fixes for problems that are found internally since the release of the product and a limited number of customer-requested design changes or features.
Additional information: Microsoft service packs are available for download and are accompanied by a Microsoft Knowledge Base article.
- Software Update
Definition: A software update is any update, update rollup, service pack, feature pack, critical update, security update, or hotfix that is used to improve or to fix a software product that is released by Microsoft Corporation.
Additional information: A Microsoft software update is accompanied by a Microsoft Knowledge Base article.
Definition: A tool is a utility or a feature that helps to complete a task or a set of tasks.
Definition: An update is a widely released fix for a specific problem. An update addresses a noncritical, non-security-related bug.
Additional information: Microsoft updates are available for customers to download and are accompanied by a Microsoft Knowledge Base article.
- Update Rollup
Definition: An update rollup is a tested, cumulative set of hotfixes, security updates, critical updates, and updates that are packaged together for easy deployment. A rollup generally targets a specific area, such as security, or a component of a product, such as Internet Information Services (IIS).
Additional information: Microsoft update rollups are available for customers to download and are accompanied by a Microsoft Knowledge Base article. Customers may not redistribute update rollups without written, legal consent from Microsoft.
Definition: An upgrade is a software package that replaces an installed version of a product with a newer version of the same product. The upgrade process typically leaves existing customer data and preferences intact while replacing the existing software with the newer version.