Microsoft has announced major changes to the Windows Insider program that will affect the Dev and Beta channels. Both channels will soon receive more experimental and new features, but they will be used to test different features for Windows 11.
Thus, the Dev channel will become even more experimental branch. There Microsoft will test features and ideas that may never make it to release. As before, builds from the Dev channel will not be linked to any feature update.
- The Dev Channel will be for long lead work from our engineers with features and experiences that may never get released as we try out different concepts and get feedback. It is important to remember that the builds we release to the Dev Channel should not be seen as matched to any specific release of Windows and the features included may change over time, be removed, or replaced in Insider builds or may never be released beyond Windows Insiders to general customers.
- The Beta Channel will be previewing experiences that are closer to what we will ship to our general customers. Because the Dev and Beta Channels represent parallel development paths from our engineers, there may be cases where features and experiences show up in the Beta Channel first.
- We will deliver updates to features and experiences in builds from the Dev and Beta Channels by releasing Feature, Web, and Online Service Experience Packs on top of these builds too.
- The Release Preview Channel remains the best spot for previewing what’s coming to general customers soon
On the Dev channel, the same new feature can exist in multiple versions, each of which will be available to a specific group of insiders as part of A / B testing. Also, for some insiders, the specific new feature may simply be disabled. At the same time, Microsoft does not intend to document all the changes made to a build. So only one of the experimental options will be mentioned in the build change log.
As for the Beta channel, Microsoft will use it to test a set of features planned for release in the next version of Windows. There will be no experiments on this channel. Beta builds will give a clear idea of what Microsoft plans to release next time.
In the coming weeks, Insiders will have the opportunity to move from the Dev channel to Beta.
Finally, Microsoft will release some new features with Feature, Web and Online Service Experience Packs. They will come out separately from full build releases. In the future, this will be the main way to test new features. Major changes to the platform and internal components will continue be part of new builds of the OS.
The changes do not affect the Release Preview channel. It will remain the channel for final testing of the release builds. It takes place approximately two weeks before the public release.
Last but not least, the Windows Insider Program has a new logo. It looks as follows.
This new icon will appear under Settings > Windows Update > Windows Insider Program. The icon will also be showing up in emails and on various online resources.
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