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A service pack (SP) is a patch and upgrade suite that complements an established operating system (OS) and its software programs.
An SP is a small set of applications with software patches or security loops removing errors and bugs, modifying components or adding new features. Its purpose is to improve user productivity from earlier versions. Most major software vendors release application service packs annually or as required.
Software applications, such as Microsoft Windows, are built on millions of source code lines and thousands of files, processes and components. Various distinct software applications provide multiple utilities and functionalities via built-in processes, which are vulnerable to errors, bugs and/or other performance-inhibiting factors.
After a software application is released, SPs incorporate and maintain components, solutions and services within comprehensive sets containing updates, patches and added functionalities. SPs can be either incremental or cumulative. An incremental SP contains new updates and fixes for an application. A cumulative SP is a comprehensive collection of previous SPs.