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The Windows Insiders Program is getting a makeover, and here's what's going to happen next



Approximately 5 years ago Microsoft started rolling out test builds to the Windows Insiders in the Fast Ring, and those test builds were then rolled out to Slow Ring and Release Preview Ring. Over the years, Microsoft adjusted how they have released the Windows 10 Preview builds by using the ring model.

 

Now they are transitioning and converting the current Windows Insiders ring model, based on the frequency of builds, to a new channel model. In addition to this change, Insiders will also find similar offering names and expectations across Windows and Office programs and soon Microsoft Edge and Microsoft Teams.

 

Windows Insiders Program getting a makeover, and here's what's going to happen

 

  • Windows Insiders ring model is getting a makeover.
  • The Fast ring will become the Dev Channel, the Slow ring will become the Beta Channel, and the Release Preview ring will become the Release Preview Channel.
  • Insiders will also find similar offering names and expectations across Windows and Office programs and soon to Microsoft Edge and Microsoft Teams.

 

Focusing on the quality of the experience

When the company first began flighting new Windows 10 Insider Preview Builds in 2015, Windows Insiders were asked to join one of two rings ("Fast" or "Slow") based on the frequency of when new builds would be delivered to their device. Insiders who wanted updates the fastest and were comfortable with some rough edges joined the Fast ring. Insiders who would rather wait for more polished and stable updates joined the Slow ring.

 

In early 2016, Microsoft introduced the "Release Preview" ring for Insiders who wanted to receive early access to servicing updates on released versions of Windows 10.

 

In the middle of 2019, Insiders were running builds from 3 different releases (at various stages of the development cycle) with the Fast ring being on 20H1, the Slow ring on 19H2 code, and the Release Preview ring on 19H1 code.

 

Windows Insiders channels are now live! Check your program settings on Windows Update!

 

As the company is now continuing to evolve the way they release Windows 10 and the diversity of Insiders they serve is greater than ever, it is critical that Insiders have a flighting option that is tailored to their needs. So, the company is now focusing on the quality of the experience, and thus, they are now transitioning and converting the current Windows 10 insiders' ring model to a new channel model based on the frequency of builds.

 

Later this month, the Fast ring will become the Dev Channel, the Slow ring will become the Beta Channel, and the Release Preview ring will become the Release Preview Channel. Here is what that mapping looks like:

 

Introducing Windows Insider Channels

 

Dev Channel

This channel is ideal for highly technical users. Insiders in the Dev Channel will receive builds that are earliest in a development cycle and will contain the latest work-in-progress code. These builds will have rough edges and some instability that could block key activities or require workarounds.

 

These builds are not matched to a specific Windows 10 release. New features and OS improvements in this channel will show up in future Windows 10 releases when they are ready and may be delivered as full OS build updates or service releases.

 

Beta Channel

This channel is ideal for early adopters. Insiders and IT Professionals in the Beta Channel can check out upcoming Windows 10 features, while still getting relatively reliable updates that are validated by Microsoft.

 

As a part of the Beta Channel, Insiders will see builds that will be tied to a specific upcoming release, like 20H1 previously.

 

Release Preview Channel

Insiders and IT Professionals in the Release Preview Channel will have access to the upcoming release of Windows 10 prior to it being released to the world, with advanced quality updates and certain key features. These builds are supported by Microsoft. The Release Preview Channel is where Microsoft recommends companies to preview and validate upcoming Windows 10 releases before broad deployment within their organization.

 

 


Kunal Chowdhury
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