A hotfix or Quick Fix Engineering update (QFE update) is a single, cumulative package that includes information (often in the form of one or more files) that is used to address a problem in a software product (i.e. a software bug). Typically, hotfixes are made to address a specific customer situation. The term "hotfix" was originally applied to software patches that were applied to "hot" systems; that is, systems which are live, currently running and in production status rather than development status. For the developer, a hotfix implies that the change may have been made quickly and outside normal development and testing processes. This could increase the cost of the fix by requiring rapid development, overtime or other urgent measures. For the user, the hotfix could be considered more risky or more likely to fail to resolve the problem. This could cause an immediate loss of services and/or revenue, so depending on the severity of the bug, it may be desirable to delay a hotfix. The risk of applying the hotfix must be considered against the risk of not applying it, because the problem to be fixed might be so critical that it could be considered more important than a potential loss of service (e.g., a major security breach).
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