Feature Creep

What Does Feature Creep Mean?

Feature creep refers to software or hardware that becomes complicated and difficult to use as a result of too many features. In addition to poorer usability, feature creep can cause a product to actually become less stable because of unintended results between the various components.


Techopedia Explains Feature Creep

The term is primarily used in reference to software, but can also be used for hardware. The thing about software packages is that the software vendor needs to keep on releasing new versions in order to keep generating revenue. It’s hard to sell a new version that doesn’t do “something” that the old version did not. As a result, more and more features are included even though the average user might never use them.

The modern computer’s main components are closely similar to computers produced decaess ago. Some would argue that “progress” is actually a bunch of unused features that make computers less stable. For example, DOS was one of the most common OSs on older PCs, and has been replaced by a version of Windows in the vast majority of installations. Windows has literally thousands of additional features and can do far, far more than DOS. However, DOS crashes remain rare, whereas Windows is well-known for crashing on a regular basis.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.