Updated: 03/10/2024 by Computer Hope
Fictional Update key on a keyboard, in place of the left Shift key.

A patch is a piece of software code that can be applied after the program is installed to correct an issue with that program. Most programs have several patches after their initial release and usually update the version of the program when installed.

Where do I get software patches?

Software patches, when available, are generally found on the software developer's website and may be installed using the program or through a digital distribution platform.

Why is a computer patch called a patch?

The term patch is derived from the physical patches programmers placed over holes on punch tape to fix problems.

What are patch notes?

When a patch is introduced, it often includes patch notes also known as a changelog. These notes describe each of the fixes included in the patch and any new features. If you're playing a game or using software that's been patched it's highly recommend you read the patch notes to find out new features. See the following page for great overview and suggestions on creating a changelog.

What are unofficial patches?

When a product reaches EOL (end-of-life) and is no longer supported or the company goes out of business, it will no longer release patches. Some enthusiasts may spend the time to release their patches to fix these problems. Because the original developer did not make these patches, they're considered "unofficial patches."

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