A Closer Look At The New Windows Insider Channels

Windows Insider Program

Microsoft dropped a bit of bombshell last night when it announced that it was stirring things up for the Windows Insider Program. This it did by streamlining things by renaming Rings to Channels.

The whole deal is about focusing on the quality of the experience.

Redmond already uses a similar naming scheme for Edge Insider builds and the Office Insider Program.

For the web browser, daily Edge builds are released under the Canary Channel, while weekly builds arrive as part of the Dev Channel. That leaves the public-focused Beta Channel that pushes for a new Microsoft Edge build every six months.

Windows Insider Channels

In the case of the Windows Insider Program, this is how the builds will be referred to as.

  • Fast Ring + Skip Ahead becomes the Dev Channel
  • Slow Rings is now the Beta Channel
  • Release Preview Ring is renamed as the Release Preview Channel

Of course, in case of Windows, it is not possible to release daily builds. Servicing them, then downloading and installing new ones every day would be quite a task. Hence the lack of a Canary Channel here.

And then there is the little fact that this preview program now aligns with the Office Insider Program, where channel names were also recently announced.

The two programs are now closer.

Windows Office Insiders

Plus, this is Microsoft trying to clear up the mess that it had inadvertently created over the last year or so. There was a time when the company was releasing 19H1, 19H2, and 20H1 builds at the same time via different rings.

Talk about clutter!

But the big takeaway is that the older Ring model focused on the frequency of builds, this new one focus on the quality of these preview releases. And this is clearly something that Insiders had been asking Microsoft for quite some time.

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