Today, we're launching a pilot program to make Visual Studio 2005 hotfixes more readily available for download.
Hotfix - A single package composed of one or more files used to address a problem in a product. Hotfixes address a specific customer situation, are only available through a support relationship with Microsoft, and may not be distributed outside the customer organization without written legal consent from Microsoft. The terms QFE (Quick Fix Engineering update), patch, and update have been used in the past as synonyms for hotfix. - Patch Management Process
Previously, if you needed a Visual Studio 2005 hotfix, you had to contact Microsoft Support. Hotfixes exist to address very specific issues that exist in certain conditions, so you should always review the KB article associated with a given hotfix to ensure the issue it describes matches the issue you're experiencing. Personally, I compare hotfixes to prescription drugs. If I'm not experiencing the described symptoms, I don't swallow the pill. Don't be a hotfix abuser.
Today, this pilot program consists of nine popular hotfixes for Visual Studio 2005. Based on the success of the program, we may add others.
For more information, see the DevDiv Hotfix Public Availability Pilot Program.