When posting my Windows 10 test build videos I am frequently asked where I get the development Windows 10 builds from. They often ask for download links and rather than search the darkest corner of the internet looking for leaked builds Microsoft provides us a way to test out Windows 10. Microsoft call this the Windows Insider Program and if you want to get testing Windows 10, all you need is a PC.
Before you start you need to be aware that development builds of Windows 10 can be unstable and you could end up having to re-install Windows if it all goes wrong, so make sure you don’t use you essential machine with test builds.
Joining the Windows Insider Program
The first step is to go to Settings, Update & Security and click on the Windows Insider Program.
Next, click on Get started
Click on Link and account and select a Microsoft account.
You can then pick which type of Windows builds you are going to get:
This is an important option will make a difference to the frequency and stability of the builds you will receive.
Just fixes, apps and drivers
This option gives you stable builds and the latest version of Microsoft’s inbox Windows apps. Microsoft calls this the Release Preview branch and they only push Windows builds to this ring when they are getting ready to release the update to general users. Normally this is the last month of development and this is the safest option.
Active development of Windows
This option gives you the current development build of Windows 10. There are two frequency of builds you can select: fast and slow. Fast ring builds tend to be released once a week, less frequently at the start of development and more frequently towards to the end of development. These builds can be unstable and contain multiple bugs but you do get to try the new Windows 10 features. Builds to the slow ring come out less frequently and are normally builds that the fast ring have been testing for a couple weeks.
Skip ahead to the next Windows release
This option gives you builds from the next development of Windows 10. This is the version of Windows 10 Microsoft are working on to release after the next update to Windows 10. It is likely to contain more bugs than other builds and can contain features that do not make the final release. This is the riskiest option.
Once you select an option you need to reboot Windows, then Windows will start downloading the appropriate build.
As I mentioned before you are taking a risk when installing development builds, I have my main machine on Release Preview and spare machines on fast ring and skip ahead. If you do not want to try the builds yourself, fear not you can watch my Windows 10 hands on videos where I highlight the changes in each build of Windows 10.
One of the reason why Microsoft wants us to test Windows 10 is to provide feedback. Microsoft have an app in Windows 10 called the Feedback Hub where you can report issues you find with the test builds. So if you have any issues with the development builds of Windows 10 make sure you go to the Feedback Hub and check to see if someone else also has the same issue, if you find someone has you can upvote their feedback. If it’s a new issue you can create new feedback. Your feedback all goes into making Windows 10 a better product.
How to stop Windows Insider builds
If you want to opt out of the Windows Insider Program go to Settings, Updates & Recovery and click on Windows Insider Program.
Then click on the Stop Insider Preview builds.
Windows then gives the option of pausing builds for a while, rolling back to the last release version of Windows 10 or stopping builds completely.
After selecting the option, click on Confirm and restart your PC
The Windows Insider Program is a great way of helping shape the future of Windows 10 and a great way of seeing what is coming in future version of Windows 10. Don’t forget you can watch my Windows 10 hands on videos where I highlight the changes in each build of Windows 10.
Ian Dixon is a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional), founder of TheDigitalLifestyle.com tech site and producer of the weekly The Digital Lifestyle Show podcast. Ian has been writing and talking about Windows for over 10 years and has over 20 years in IT as an IT Manager. Ian has thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook and over 4 million views on his YouTube channel.