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If you don’t have your boot disk, go to another computer and create one.

Software Patches

P atches, fixes, service packs, and updates are all the same thing—free software revisions. These are intermediary solutions until a new version of the product is released. A patch may solve a particular problem, as does a security patch, or change the way your system works, as does an update. You can apply a so-called hot patch without rebooting your computer; in other cases, applying a patch requires that the server go down.

Is It Necessary?

Because patches are designed to fix problems, it would seem that you would want to download the most current patches and apply them immediately. That is not always the best thing to do. Patches can sometimes cause problems with existing, older software. Different philosophies exist regarding the application of the newest patches. The first philosophy is to keep your systems only as up-to-date as necessary to keep them running. This is the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach. After all, the point of a patch is to fix your software. Why fix it if it isn’t broken? The other philosophy is to keep the software as up-to-date as possible because of the additional features that a patch will sometimes provide.

You must choose the approach that is best for your situation. If you have little time to devote to chasing down and fixing problems, go with the first philosophy. If you always need the latest and greatest features, even at the expense of stability, go with the second.

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