Microsoft is making a major change to the Windows Insider program, moving to release channels, and away from “rings,” where the choice was to pick between “fast” and “slow” rings.
Amanda Langowski / Principal Program Manager Lead said:
We are transitioning and converting our current ring model, based on the frequency of builds, to a new channel model that pivots on the quality of builds and better supports parallel coding efforts. 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.
Our goal is to not only make it clearer for existing Insiders to choose the experience that’s right for them, but also for new Insiders to pick the right channel as they join. The Insider community is very important to us all and we’re working to align how all our Insider programs work better together across Microsoft.
Beginning later this month, the “fast” ring will become the Dev Channel, the “slow” ring the Beta Channel and the “release preview” will now be known as the Release Preview Channel.
The Dev Channel is meant for users who want to get very early access to new features, which isn’t all that different from fast rings. However, this channel isn’t tied to any specific release. New features in this channel will make their way into releases once they are ready, whether that’s as part of a major update or a servicing release.
Due to its unstable nature, Microsoft says this release is mostly meant for highly technical users and Insider feedback here will help engineers with major fixes and changes to the latest code.
The Beta Channel is really the beta version of a specific release and meant for early adopters. As a part of the Beta Channel, Insiders will see builds that will be tied to a specific upcoming release, like 20H1 previously.
Feedback will be especially important here, since it will help engineers make sure that key issues are identified and fixed before a major release.
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 recommend companies preview and validate upcoming Windows 10 releases before broad deployment within organizations.
If you’re part of the Windows Insider program, these changes will be automatic and start with builds that are set to launch later this month.