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How to Apply SharePoint Service Packs and Cumulative Updates

Which SharePoint Are Right for Me?

Microsoft periodically releases patches for SharePoint. How would an administrator decide between the various patches? Microsoft organizes patch types in a hierarchy. “Higher” patch type include all the fixes that are contained in the “lower” ones. Confused yet? Let’s walk this through!


Public Updates

The smallest of SharePoint patches are the Public Updates. A public update fixes critical issues that affect many systems. Microsoft recommends public updates to be installed as soon as feasible.

Cumulative Updates

Microsoft releases Cumulative Update roughly every month. Cumulative update basically bundles the available public updates in a convenient package. Do read the patch notes though. You may have mix and match various cumulative updates to patch up all the SharePoint components in your environment.

“Uber” Packages

“Uber” package is a dying breed. We speculate that Microsoft will release less of this type of patches in the future. These packages are meant to be all-encompassing and will update and/or patch every SharePoint service and component.

Service Packs

This is the most comprehensive type of SharePoint patches. Released annually, it includes all fixes from the preceding year(s). A Service Pack is the baseline for future patches, so if don’t have the latest service pack, you don’t get new patches. Therefore, you should install service packs as soon as feasible.

Word Of Caution

Always verify and validate patching in a sandbox or test environment. Incompatibilities of patches are not always easily reversible. Going against this recommendation is like playing Russian Roulette. Tons of beauty sleep will be at risk!
Hopefully this will help you decide which patch you need to install and how soon to do so. Also, refer to our SharePoint patch deployment primer for some best practices on patching SharePoint. Give us a call to learn more about updating SharePoint! Cheers!