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What patches or service packs need to be loaded to bring ArcGIS 8.1 up to date?
Patches are released when problems are reported by ESRI software users. Each patch has a documentation section, in which the purpose for the release of the patch is given. If you are not experiencing any of the problems listed in the patch document, there is no need to load the patch.
Service Packs are released to fix larger issues that were either software bugs or problems reported by a large number of users. A Service Pack is equivalent to a new release of the software. We recommend you load the latest Service Pack available.