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I have given an RTM version of SQL Server 2014 and I need to apply the latest SP (currently SP2) and CU (currently CU8). Do I need to apply SP1 first? Or can I straight move to SQL Server 2014 SP2 CU8 without applying the old Service Pack 1 and the related Cumulative updates?

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You can apply SP2 for SQL 2014 without SP1 being installed first, then apply CU8 for SP2. Like Service Packs, cumulative updates are just that - cumulative - so you do not need to apply each incremental CU. But to install the latest SP2 CU, you first need to apply SP2.

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When patching SQL Server:

  1. Apply the most recent Service Pack, then
  2. Apply the most recent Cumulative Update for that Service Pack.

You never have to go through Service Packs or Cumulative Updates in order. Just use the most recent of each, in the order above.

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