A hotfix is a software update designed to fix a bug or security hole in a program. Unlike typical version updates, hotfixes are urgently developed and released as soon as possible to limit the effects of the software issue. They are often released between incremental version updates.
You may receive a hotfix notification by email or as an alert in the program itself. It may be labeled as a "critical update" or "security update." Some applications allow you to update the software by simply clicking Update in the program. Other applications may require you to download the hotfix package and run the update as an executable file.
It is typically advisable to run a hotfix update as soon as possible to avoid problems with the software. However, any time you receive a hotfix notification, make sure it is legitimate and from the developer of the software before agreeing to install it. In most cases, you can check the software company's website to view the update history and release notes for the program.
NOTE: Since hotfixes are designed to fix a specific issue, the size of a hotfix is typically small. For this reason, a hotfix may also be called a patch, since it "patches" the bug or security hole.
Updated: December 30, 2015