The Windows Insider Programme: What you need to know!

If you’re a Windows Enthusiast, and want to find out what’s coming next to the operating system, you can join the Windows Insider Programme.  This is pre-release programme, otherwise known as a beta.  The downside is that the versions of Windows 10 you’d be using aren’t finished, and as such could be buggy, unstable, and insecure.

If you’re happy with that, and understand that sometimes the software, apps, games, and devices you use might not work properly (or at all) for a few weeks, there are several programme choices (known as rings) that you can sign up for.

  • Fast ring – this is the programme on which you will get new features first, and updates more often.  These will be the least stable updates however, so only use this ring on a non-critical PC.
  • Slow ring – is the ring that gets more stable updates that have previously been released to the Fast ring.  Bugs and issues can still be in these builds, but they will be much more reliable.
  • Release Preview Ring – this ring will only give you new features that apply to the currently installed feature pack on your PC, making things much more stable.  You won’t see features coming in the next feature pack however.
  • Skip Ahead – is a special version of the Fast ring, that allows you to skip ahead to the newest beta for Windows.  There are high risks of instabilities on this ring, so it’s really only for power users and IT Pros.

You can sign up for the Windows Insider Programme in Settings > Update & Security > Windows Insider Programme.  Within 24 hours new builds will begin downloading and installing to your PC.

If you want to get off the Windows Insider Programme this can be tricky unless you are prepared to format your hard disk and reinstall a clean version of the operating system.  There is a small window twice a year at the time of each Feature Pack release.  Moving yourself when you can to the Slow ring, or Release Preview ring allows you to leave the Insider programme, but only when the installed version of the OS on your PC matches the current one released to the public and businesses.

You can find out more about the Windows Insider Programme on the Microsoft website.

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