Users of Microsoft products must be familiar with their Hotfix service, which offered downloadable small updates, fixes or patches for Windows, Office and all other products to resolve various issues in existing installations. Hotfixes usually address only a single issue, without containing cumulative multiple fixes. The service was extremely valuable for those who faced only a certain issue and needed to fix just that problem without downloading all available huge updates or a gigantic cumulative update rollup or a service pack. Now, its days are over.
Advanced users, IT pros, system administrators could solve a great of problems by downloading hotfixes. If you had a Premium support agreement with Microsoft, at one time, you could also file for a Design Change Request to create a hotfix. The sustained engineering team created these hotfixes since they were the ones who managed the codebase of products which had already shipped.
Hotfixes usually came with a disclaimer stating that they were not extensively tested like broadly available, publicly released updates or service packs.
While no official announcement has been made yet, the Hotfix website states the following:
The Hotfix service is no longer available. Instead you can find your fix or patch by upgrading to the latest update available for your product.
You can also obtain Microsoft drivers, software updates, and other support files by downloading them from the Microsoft Catalog, the Microsoft Download Center, or upgrade to Windows 10. Windows 10 contains the most up-to-date security and other features built right in.
Fortunately, previously issued hotfixes are still available on the Windows Update Catalog web site, along with the appropriate support pages (KB articles).
Actually, this move was expected
The way Microsoft is developing, releasing, and updating their latest products has changed in recent years. It has no place for hotfixes. Consumers are forced to update the operating system twice a year, and must install cumulative updates which the software company releases frequently. Microsoft calls this redistribution model as "Software-as-a-Service", in which you must agree to using their software only for as long as they license it to you, and with the terms and conditions defined in the End User License Agreement. You don't own the software and the decision to not update it is also not within your control. This redistribution model makes hotfixes meaningless, because there are no separate updates or patches to install. In fact, after 2015, no hotfixes have been released for Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016, not even a single one.
Microsoft Office has also moved to a subscription model with cumulative updates.
But this change also affects classic Windows versions like Windows 7, and its half-baked successor, Windows 8.1 which was never adopted universally. Also, older Office products, and all of the other products from Microsoft which received hotfixes are affected. You could have these hotfix links delivered to you via email, from where you could download and install them. Discontinuation of hotfixes is another nail in the coffin of older products which offered more granular control over installation of any kind of updates or changes to the product.
What do you think about this change? Will it affect you in any way? Tell us in the comments.
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