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What is Windows Insider and how the Microsoft beta program works

27 mayo, 2021

Windows 10 is an ever-evolving operating system, and every few months you get new features through major updates such as Anniversary or Creators. But before these news are released to the general public, Microsoft first tests them internally with the help of an army of volunteers.

These are the members of Microsoft Insider, a beta tester program in which anyone can register for receive preview versions of Windows 10 and test them for bugs and errors. If you have never heard of this kind of thing, today we are going to explain how this beta program is designed, what advantages it has and how you can become part of it.

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What is and how does Windows Insider work?

Insider Preview

The beta testers of this program are called the Windows Insiders, and the different builds or preliminary versions of the operating system that are disseminated by it are the Insider Previews. This system was announced in September 2014, when Microsoft unveiled the name and features of Windows 10.

Of him they said that it would be a collaborative operating system, since they would allow the community to be part of their development. The cornerstone that would make this philosophy possible would be its community of Insiders, and to this day they continue to be the ones who receive and test all the new features before anyone else.

It is a way of working very similar to that of other platforms such as GNU / Linux, which also delegate to the community with a series of betas. With the opinions and experiences of use of the users Microsoft is giving shape to the new features that it wants to include in its operating system, and also uses them to debug their possible bugs and bugs.

With the opinions and experiences of use of the users, Microsoft is shaping the new features that it wants to include in its operating system.

But since not all users are willing to take the same risks when testing beta versions, Microsoft has divided the program into different “rings.” Each represents a different level of stability, going from the less stable alpha versions to the betas that have already been tested by those who use the previous rings.

Microsoft has in its Insider program a total of six rings, where three of them are for internal employee use only. In the Canary ring Microsoft developers propose and test the new functions for the first time. To the Windows and Devices Group Ring those approved in the Canary phase go, and once approved there they are taken to the Microsoft Ring where, in addition to the developers, the rest of Microsoft employees can also test them.

Once an update goes through these three alpha phases, they arrive the three public rings for members of the Insider program. The Quick Ring is the most unstable and the one with the most movement, and the Slow Ring it is an intermediate point to which only the most stable go. Finally we have the ring Release Preview, where Insiders will receive the next cumulative updates to the stable release shortly before its official release.

Here you have to keep one thing in mind. The more unstable the ring, the more builds or beta versions it will receive. For example, the fast ring will receive many more updates than the slow one, but when they reach the latter you will know that they have already been polished and work quite correctly. Finally, the Release Preview will receive almost no builds, although days before a big update is released You will receive it there so you can try it.

Advantages and disadvantages of testing your betas

Uploading

Being part of this user community has certain advantages, although also some other disadvantage. In any case, the latter are higher or lower depending on the ring from which you download the updates.

The first advantage is that you will be one of the first people to try each new feature that is preparing for Windows 10. For example, a few months before the Creators Update arrives, practically all the news is already implemented in the rings of the Insider program, so its users are testing most of the news that it will bring.

The second most important advantage is that being a member of the Windows Insider program you have free windows. Microsoft does not care that you have not paid for the Windows license, and once you sign up you can download the ISOs of the latest build available within the beta program from their website.

With the Release Preview you can have Windows 10 for free with almost no risk

In fact, the last almost stable ring Release Preview it is a very good alternative to use Windows 10 free with almost no risks. Although in the almost There is the question, because the free Windows you will only have while you use the Insider Previews, and at no time will you be able to use the final versions of the rest of the users who have paid for the license.

And the third advantage is the personal satisfaction that it can give you be helping to improve your operating system. Insider builds include a feedback system in which you can send any bugs or bugs you find to Microsoft. More productive of course than putting them to give birth for him later on social networks.

As for the main disadvantages there are two. On the one hand there is instability, since they are still beta versions of the system that can include more or less serious errors depending on the chosen ring, and there could even be the possibility that certain applications or tools do not work correctly.

Instability in beta builds can be a problem.

On top of that, it can also be inconvenient for some rings like the fast one to receive updates every week or two. This will force you to be continually updating your computer, with the changes and reboots of configurations that this may entail.

Definitely, it is not recommended to use on the equipment you use to work the builds of the Windows Insider program, since an update or a bug may interrupt you at any time that does not allow you to carry out your day-to-day tasks normally. In any case, if you are curious by nature and want to be the first to try the new features of Windows 10, the adventure can be interesting.

How can I participate?

Setting Wip

To participate in the Windows Insider program, the first thing you have to do is go to their website, click on Begin and log in with your Microsoft email account to register for the program. Next you must make sure that have Windows 10 updated with the Anniversary Update. If you don’t have it updated, go to the download page to download and install the update tool.

With these two steps taken, go to the menu Setting and enter Updates and security, where on the left you will see a tab with the name Windows Insider Program. On that page you will be notified you’re about to start the download process for Windows 10 Insider Preview builds.

Click on Begin and you will go to another screen with another notice that you are about to go on to install a preliminary version of the operating system. give to Next and follow all the steps that they ask you. Upon completion of the process, Windows 10 will automatically put you in the channel Release Preview, but in that same window in which you have registered, you can change the settings to choose the fast or slow ring.

Setting Wip2

Once these steps have been followed, Microsoft will register you in its database of collaborators, the first update should arrive in 24 hours with the latest build that has been released in the ring you have selected. This will be done through Windows update as if it were a conventional update.

In the event that you have another operating system and / or you just want the ISO because you prefer to install it from there or you have a newly formatted computer, on the Windows Insider Preview Downloads website, under everything where it says Select Edition, you can choose different versions of the latest builds published in 32 or 64 bits.

Once you have installed your trial version, the Opinion Center application will be available on your computer, which you can also install in stable versions. In it you can report bugs, problems or opinions regarding the new features you are testing. That’s your part of the deal, to help with your opinion.

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