What is a service pack or patch?

Service packs and patches are similar; they are created primarily to fix or improve functionality found in the previous release. You can download service packs and patches from the ArcGIS Resource Center. You should follow the instructions provided on the Resource Center for applying a service pack or patch.

A patch can be a single fix or a set of related fixes in a specific functional area of the software. Once a patch is released, it gets incorporated into subsequent service pack releases. Patches do not add new functionality.

A service pack is a collection of fixes and patches. Service packs contain new fixes and all fixes released previously for that release including previous service packs. Service packs are provided as msp or tar files based on specific products or platform configuration for ease of use. Service packs are generally made available via the Web and via CD distribution on request on a quarterly schedule. Service packs usually do not add new functionality; however, in rare circumstances, they may.

Applying service packs to multiple Esri products on the same machine

If you have multiple Esri products installed on the same machine, there may be a particular order in which service packs must be applied. Be sure to read the instructions for the service pack for each product you have installed before installing any of the service packs.

Applying service packs to Esri products on different machines

If ArcGIS 9 or later release product installations are distributed across different machines, Esri recommends you install the service pack on the clients first. For example, if an ArcIMS server (the client software) connects to an ArcSDE geodatabase, the service pack should be installed on the ArcIMS server first, then the ArcSDE server.


Be aware that once a service pack is applied to the software, if you decide you do not want it, you cannot just uninstall the service pack—you must uninstall and reinstall the software to which it was applied.

DBMS patches

DBMS vendors also release patches for their database products.


Informix does not usually supply patches but instead releases fixes in the next version of the software.

If you want to apply a DBMS patch, do the following:

  1. Be sure the prepatch version of the DBMS product you are using is working properly with your ArcSDE geodatabase. This way you know that the database was working prior to applying the patch.
  2. Before applying any DBMS patches, make a full backup of the database.
  3. Apply the DBMS patch.
  4. Test the ArcSDE geodatabase with the patched DBMS.

If a patch is applied to the DBMS and ArcSDE or geodatabase stops working correctly, it is possible that the patch changed something in the database that ArcSDE requires. If this occurs, roll back the patch and test again. If the operations that had stopped working when the patch was applied work after you go back to the final release version of the DBMS, contact your DBMS company representative about the patch and its effects on third-party applications.

After the final version of a DBMS release is certified, Esri will test DBMS patches only when there is a need to do so. After it is determined that the DBMS patches are needed, Esri advises you to add them to your DBMS as well.