Service Pack

What Does Service Pack Mean?

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.

Techopedia Explains Service Pack

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.


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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.