Windows 10 Insider Preview builds. What are they?

Windows 10 Insider Preview builds are special updates released to those who have opted-in or signed up for them.

With these builds you would receive new features and updates ahead of time before they are released to the public. Good this may sound; the earlier release of the build could mean that bugs which are still being worked on could show up as well.

So, if you’re thinking about opting-in for the Windows 10 Insider Preview Builds, I’ll show you how but you may want to do a bit of research first. Luckily, I’ve done that for you too…

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The Different types of Insider Preview Builds

There are three different types or ‘channels‘ of Preview Builds. Depending on the channel you signed up for you may get different features.

The time you will be receiving those features and updates also depend on the channel.

And before you get hyped up and all but ready to install Preview Builds, let me give you a tip.

The safest way to install these updates without consequence would be to run them on a virtual machine or separate PC that’s not being used.

Reason for this is that there’s no telling what bugs these Preview Builds could introduce. And if you use a separate PC or virtual machine you could install these updates without a second thought.

Dev Channel:

If you sign up for the developer preview side of things you could get updates that are a little less stable if not a lot.

These updates though could even include major updates and previews of the next version of Windows.

They are more for the tech enthusiasts so if you’re a regular user or are not very tech savvy it may not be recommended to opt-in for because these updates can get quite buggy and unstable.

On the bright side you may get these updates way before the other two channels.

Beta Channel:

Again, you’d receive updates and builds sooner than regular windows users however you’ll be receiving updates at a later date then when you sign up for the Dev channel.

These updates are more stable and had more work done than the dev builds therefore the longer wait.

The safer builds are hand in hand with updates validated by Microsoft as stated in the image above.

Release Channel:

This gives you optional updates to the next version of your current Windows as well as deliver a preview to certain features and fixes ready for commercial use making this the most stable option in my opinion.

Recommended: How to optimize Windows 10 Updates to use less bandwidth.

The Ups and Downs of Windows 10 Insider Preview Builds

The Ups:

  • These updates are free.
  • You would get new updates and features before normal Users get them being ahead of the curve in a way. Those new updates may be major changes or small updates that are barely noticeable. So as a user this means that you’re able to test things out for yourself before things hit the shelves.
  • Some of these major updates may deliver a major overhaul to Windows itself. And by this, I mean it may give you a preview of the next Windows OS before any of the public sees it.
  • Being able to give Microsoft your very own take on the experience and helping to point out bugs in the update. This means that you would be helping to change Windows itself in a good way, not just for yourself but for other Windows 10 Users out there. This is a win for everyone. To do this though you can use the feedback app.

The Downs:

  • Bugs, bugs, bugs (Grab the anti – bug spray!). Although it may be different for each machine and build there are reasons these builds are not for the public. They may be unstable and the bugs they introduce could either be minor or major.
    • These bugs could cause problems such as crashing, freezing, halting apps, apps not working at all, some features missing, some features not working. And these are just a few. So again, be careful when installing these updates. Be sure to use a virtual machine or separate PC.
  • It’s easy to opt in but more difficult to opt out and get back your stable build of Windows. You would have to revert temporarily to a previous build or would have to reinstall your version of Windows. So yeah, there’s that.
  • You may receive quite a few updates over a short time span. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you see it though.

How to enable Windows 10 Insider Preview Builds.

Now that you know the ups/downs if you’re still eager to opt-in for the program here are the steps but before you do:

Make sure you have a licensed version of Windows.

Be prepared to restart your PC.

Make sure that you’ve saved whatever it is that you need to save and closed all your applications.

Make sure you’re using a secondary PC instead of one that you see yourself using constantly. Or make sure you’re using a virtual machine software to install these updates. Using the virtual machine would require you to install Windows 10 on it and then run the updates there.

And finally, here are the actual steps to enable the insider updates:

  1. First open Settings > Updates & Security > Windows Insider Program.
  • You’re probably wondering why my interface looks different from the regular Windows 10. It’s because I installed the Windows 11 Developer Preview Build at the time.
  1. After you’re in the Windows Insider Program Tab select the ‘Get started’ option.
  1. Then click ‘Pick an account‘ to get started, select the + and choose your Microsoft account.
  1. Once there go through the instructions and select the channel you’d like to use.
    • Remember that different channels provide you with different updates at different times and occasionally bring different bugs.
  1. After you’ve chosen your channel, review the Terms then confirm and choose to either Restart Now or Restart Later.
  1. Once restarted check your settings once more to see if it took and then go to:
    • Settings > Update & Security > Windows Insider Program and hit the ‘Check for updates‘ button to finally receive the preview updates.

And that’s that! Your PC would receive updates as it were a normal day and you’ll be testing out the features that preview builds bring.

Recommended: How to change your Windows 10 Edition with a product key.

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