How to Install a Game Patch

By Jonathan Langdon

Updated September 22, 2017

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Developers use software patches to correct production mistakes and to alter the content of a game. If the game shipped with a faulty language pack or if the developer just wants to reward players with a new side quest, then a software patch is released. Depending on the platform, the software patch is either mandatory or left to the player's discretion. In some cases, the patch is critical to the game's functionality and in others the player can keep enjoying game play without ever installing a patch.

Manual Installations

Visit the official website of the game to be patched and navigate to the downloads section. The section of the website where users can download patches varies by distributor and can be listed as an “add-on," an “update” or a “fix."

Download the latest game patch. Keep track of the file's name and where it is saved.

Install the game patch by running the file and following the instructions of the included software wizard. Instructions vary by game.

Patching Through the Game

Run the game. If a notice appears announcing a patch, follow the instructions to download and install the patch. If the game does not announce an available patch, navigate to the game's update section.

Check for an available update through the game's interface. The update scanner is typically named “Check for Updates." Allow the game to download and install the latest game patch.

Restart the game if directed. Games that use a launcher before fully initializing the game rarely require a restart after applying a patch.


Software patches for PC games can also be downloaded through file distribution websites like FilePlanet and Fileshack. Xbox Live automatically checks for patches when a game is launched and allows players the option of installing the game.


Game patches sometimes have long file names or are otherwise labeled in a way that is difficult to tell it apart from other files in a directory. Most multiplayer games require the latest patch for online play.