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What are the advantages and disadvantages of patch management versus other means of updates?
Not sure what you are asking here. Patch management assumes you have some regular way of keeping up with what you need to do, what machines need patching, testing patches, and deployment in an efficient manner. You could also -- just in Windows -- allow automatic updating, which may or may not be suitable. For the home user, or a tiny network, auto update may be the best solution. But for most networks, you need a way to manage patch deployment.