PatchOnClick is a freeware program that enables you to create patches that can modify your file or document and transform it into a more recent version of that file or document.

It is well suited to modify large files that are sent over email, the internet, or a network, without having to resend the entire file.

Let’s say that you have a 50 meg MS Word document that consists of 300 pages. Let’s say, furthermore, that you sent this document to someone by email, but that after you did this you changed a few sentences and added a single page.

Instead of re-sending your friend the entire document, wouldn’t it be great if you could send him/her a small 1-2 meg patch file that would simply append the older file and bring it up to speed? This is what PatchOnClick is designed to do (and it does it for ANY type of document).

Here are some notes on this program:

  • The user interface: is simplicity itself; consists of 2 buttons: “create a patch file” is where the program looks at version A and version B and creates a file to update A to become B. The other button, “Patch a file”, is what you press in order to make the transformation happen. VERY easy to use.
  • How it works: you need both the older and newer versions of a file on your hard drive simultaneously; PatchOnClick will read both and generate a patch file. A person who wants to apply the patch needs the older version (A) of the file, the patch file, and also needs to have PatchOnClick installed on their machine to apply the patch.

But does it work: Yes, but only if the files you are working with are very large. For smaller files the size of the resulting patch is almost comparable to that of the file or document itself, making it not really worth bothering with (whats the point of using it for small files anyway?). Also, I have found that this program works better for some file types than for others. Here is a quick summary of the tests I conducted on it.

  • MS Word DOC format: original file was 6.91 megs, modified file was 6.93 megs. Patch file was 1.92 megs.
  • Another DOC file: original file was 69.4 megs, added a single page and an image to it to make the modified file 69.5 megs. Patch was 18.3 megs, quite large for such a small modification but still much smaller than the size of the DOC file.
  • Zip file: original file was 69.1 megs, modified zip was 73.1 megs after I added a few files to it. Patch file was a mere 576K, which was very impressive!!.
  • MP4 video file: original file was 15.1 megs; modified file was 30.6 megs (I merged the file with another one); Patch file was 29.5 megs, which is to say it really wasn’t worth it.
  • Excel: original file was 6.99 megs; modified file was 7.27 megs; patch file was 6.96 megs. Also here it wasn’t worth it.

Differences between free and paid versions: Command line parameters and technical support offered with the paid version.

The verdict: this program can be extremely valuable in situations where large files are frequently deployed over email, the internet, or a network. If you are an average user who has broadband internet access it may add too much value for you, but if you are, say, a developer and/or if you work with extremely large files that are sent to a number of people it might just be one of the best utilities that you will ever come across.

Version tested:

Compatibility: Windows 98, 98SE, ME, NT4, 2000, 2003, XP, Vista. Windows 95 not supported.

Go to the program page to get the latest version (approx 935K).