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tl;dr: If I identify an SQL Server as having build X, and find out that X implies hotfix Y, does it also imply that all hotfixes listed for versions below X are installed? Or that only the hotfix for build X is installed?

I found the following list of Microsoft SQL Server version numbers and their meaning in terms of service packs, hotfixes, product versions, etc.:

My question is best illustrated with an example, an excerpt from that list:

2005 RTM+Q915793        9.00.1502  <-- interested in this
2005 RTM+Q910416        9.00.1500
2005 RTM+Q932557        9.00.1406

In the above list, if I find out that the SQL Server I am connected to is version 1502, does this imply that:

  1. only hot-fix Q915793 is installed?
  2. or that all of hot-fixes Q915793, Q910416 and Q932557 are installed?

ie. does the build imply that all previous hotfixes are installed?

Follow-up bonus question: Is this a fixed pattern for all the versions, or are there exceptions to the rule?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

All hotfixes are cumulative unless otherwise stated.

Random pick,

Because the builds are cumulative, each new fix release contains all the hotfixes and all the security fixes that were included with the previous SQL Server 2005 fix release. Microsoft recommends that you consider applying the most recent fix release that contains this hotfix.

The "otherwise stated" is like these examples where you have some dependencies (sorry. bit old, for SQL Server 2000 and SP4). and

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Where would this be stated specifically? On each hotfix? – Lasse V. Karlsen Aug 1 '11 at 12:07
Yes, each KB article will say "cumulative" or describe the dependencies. Most are cumulative now except, say, critical security patches around major SP releases. Here, the patch is released twice for pre- and post-SP – gbn Aug 1 '11 at 12:15

Generally, think of a SQL Server hotfix as a standalone thing that's applied when you have an urgent need to fix one specific problem. Other pieces of code might be included, but there's no guarantee.

A cumulative update, on the other hand, includes a known number of hotfixes. That's generally what you want to apply to your servers when possible.

For the list of CU's:

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