Windows Insider Program: Everything Explained

Windows 10 is an operating system in constant evolution, and every few months it receives new features through major updates such as Anniversary or Creators. The development of software of this magnitude can make us think about the number of engineers assigned to its development and testing, something that over time has changed in Redmond. 

Windows Insider Program

But before this news is released to the general public, Microsoft first tests them internally with the help of a group of volunteers.

These are the members of Microsoft Insider, a beta tester program where anyone can sign up to receive preview versions of Windows 10 and test them for bugs and errors. If you’ve never heard of this kind of thing, today I am going to explain to you how this beta program is designed, what advantages it has, and how you can become part of it.

What Is The Windows Insider Program?

Windows 10 was announced in September 2014, and Microsoft assured from the beginning that it would be a collaborative operating system since it would allow the community to be part of its development. So, they started the Microsoft Insider Program. 

It is a program that users can subscribe to test the beta or trial versions of each new Windows 10 update before its release. By doing so, they can report their opinions or bugs that are found to help develop new features that are tested during the betas. These different builds or preliminary versions of the operating system are called Insider Previews.

It is a way of working very similar to that of other platforms such as GNU/Linux, which also delegates to the community with a series of betas. With the opinions and experiences of the use of the users, Microsoft is shaping the new features that it wants to include in its operating system, and also uses them to debug its possible bugs and bugs.

Every time the company has a compilation that solves certain problems or that implements new functions or features, after passing a test bench during the development itself, it reaches the Insiders so that they are in charge of doing all the tests that each one creates relevant.

Therefore, this user group contributes in an important way when it comes to reporting bugs, opinions, and experiences before a version of Windows 10 reaches end-users and therefore Microsoft can solve it or make the changes it deems timely based on these tests or opinions.

This became a significant saving for the company as it had plenty of free labor and a better system debugging process so that final versions arrive with higher quality and a much lower rate of errors and problems.

Read: Best Open Source Software For Windows 10

How To Join The Windows Insider Program

The process to enroll for this program is quite simple. 

1. First, you have to go to the Windows Settings menu. 

Windows Settings

2. Once there, click on the Update and security option that is used to manage updates.

3. Once you are in Update and security, first click on the Windows Insider Program category that you have in the left column. 

Windows Insider

4. Now you have to press the Start button that you will find under the option Get Windows Insider builds.

5. Doing this will open a window asking you to choose an account to start. Click on the Link an account option, and when the screen opens, choose the Microsoft account (Outlook, Hotmail, …) that you want to use as the main account for Windows Insider sessions.

6. By choosing it, you will now be asked to choose the type of updates you want to receive as an Insider member. Basically, you have to choose a ring you want to enroll in (I will talk about the rings later in this blog).

7. The process will then show you the Better Windows for All window, informing you that Microsoft will collect information about your computer and how you use Windows to automatically recognize and fix possible errors. It is necessary to accept to be an Insider, so here you must press the Continue button.

Once these steps have been followed, Microsoft will register you in its collaborator’s database, in 24 hours you should receive the first update with the latest build that has been released in the ring you have selected. This will be done through Windows Update as if it were a conventional update.

If you are still using Windows 7,8 or 8.1, then:

  1. You have to download the ‘Windows 10 update assistant’ tool.
  2. Now make sure that your PC is connected to an active internet connection and open the tool.
  3. The tool will automatically detect the latest version of Windows and 10 and you will get an option ‘Update Now’. You have to click on it.
  4. Windows 10 will be downloaded and installed automatically on your PC.
  5. Now you can follow the steps mentioned above and become a member of the Windows Insider Program.

Windows Insider Program Benefits

Joining the Windows Insider user community has some advantages since Microsoft wants to make this program attractive by allowing anyone to be part of it. These benefits may be higher or lower depending on the ring you sign up for and the type of updates you receive.

The first advantage is that you will be one of the first people to try each new feature that is being prepared for Windows 10. For example, a few months after the Creators Update arrives, practically all the new features are already implemented in the rings of the Insider program, so its users are testing most of the news that it will bring. So, you will be getting all the new features of the windows 10 about 4-5 months earlier than the regular users.

The second most important advantage is that as a member of the Windows Insider program you get Windows 10 for free. Microsoft does not care that you have not paid for the Windows license, and once you sign up, you can download the ISOs of the latest build available within the beta program from their website.

In fact, the last almost stable Release Preview ring is a very good alternative to be able to use Windows 10 for free with almost no risks. Although the question is almost there, because you will only have free Windows while you use the Insider Previews, and at no time will you be able to use the final versions of the rest of the users who have paid for the license.

And the third advantage is the personal satisfaction that you can get by helping to improve your operating system. Insider builds include a feedback system in which you can send any errors or bugs you find to Microsoft. More productive of course than putting them to give birth for him later on social networks.

Therefore, all users will be part of the great community of Insiders who contribute their experiences, opinions, bugs, and errors detected to contribute to the improvement of the system and that the final versions of Windows 10 reach users as refined as possible.

In this way, all these users could participate in all the functions and features that were coming to the latest version of the Microsoft operating system.

The users of the program can collaborate with the company, not only with reporting bugs, but they can also give their opinions and even share their experiences with the system so that Microsoft has a report on what the user experience means. from the system to the users themselves and can make decisions based on them.

Therefore, all users will be part of the great community of Insiders who contribute their experiences, opinions, bugs, and errors detected to contribute to the improvement of the system and that the final versions of Windows 10 reach users as refined as possible.

Windows Insider Program Pros And Cons

ProsCons
Enjoy new features firstYour PC may become unstable
Get free windows 10Requires a lot of bandwidth
Shape the next version of WindowsLots of telemetries
Be a part of the communitywill force you to continually update your PC in every one or two weeks
Give your feedback to the Microsoft team
Regular updates

Is the Windows Insider Program Free?

Yes. Joining the Windows Insider Program is completely free. You can enroll for the program and start availing all the benefits right away!

Microsoft designed this strategy to save many millions of dollars, opening a test program in which the users themselves could be the “tester” of the new Windows functions and that they themselves could report any failure to the company to solve it before a version sees the light and reaches the whole world.

In this way, all these users could participate in all the functions and features that were coming to the latest version of the Microsoft operating system.

In addition to the valid Windows 10 license, another attraction for many Insiders users is the possibility of being the first to know and try all the improvements, functions, and features that come to Windows 10 by the company. Something that is completely free for users of the program. Users can get these benefits without paying anything.

Read: How To Get Genuine Windows 10 For Free

Windows Insider Program Rings

Of course, each of the Windows 10 builds is at a different stage of development, which means that not all are equally stable and that in some of them it is possible to find serious system bugs. That is why, from Redmond they establish three rings to classify each of the versions or compilations of the system, Preview (R), Slow Ring (S), and Fast Ring (F).

Therefore, users who sign up for Windows Insider must choose the ring they want to access. This will depend on the risks that each one wants to take since each ring represents a different level of stability of the version to be tested.

Dev Channel (Fast Ring): this ring is the most common and used by users who sign up for the Windows 10 Insider program. This is the first to get the new versions of Windows 10 updates. Generally, it usually receives updates every week. Users enrolled in this ring are the first to try Windows news, but they are also the most exposed to problems since the builds that are released within this ring are the most unstable and will make us run into more than one error, bigs or blue screen.

In addition to that, it can also be inconvenient that some rings like the fast one receive updates every week or two. This will force you to continually update your computer, with the changes and reboots of settings that this may involve.

Beta Channel (Slow Ring): This ring receives updates much slower than the fast ring, but all versions it receives are more stable. Users enrolled in this program receive new builds of Windows 10 every several weeks, and since the builds have already gone through the fast ring, they are more stable. The Slow Ring can also hide faults, although to a lesser extent.

Release Preview Channel – This ring is designed to allow users to receive new preview versions of Windows applications, cumulative updates, and Windows drivers. Also, when Windows updates are close to the RTM, this ring allows users to update the computer before anyone else. The Release Preview is the most stable ring of all, and the one that updates the least frequently. Users who want to prepare their computers before anyone else, with the least probability of experiencing problems, should opt for this ring.

Windows Insider Program Channels
Source: Windows Blog

There was also an additional Insider ring, called “Skip Ahead” and focused on making the leap to new versions before anyone else. However, this ring is no longer available, Microsoft removed it from the possibilities by being considered much more unstable than the others.

In addition, internally Microsoft has three other rings available for the employees themselves or persons in charge of carrying out the test benches prior to each compilation or version reaching Insider users.

Out of the three rings mentioned above, I would recommend the ‘Release Preview’ as you will be getting a more stable operating system with many of the new features. Definitely, it is the most stable among the three. 

However, if you are still impatient and want to try your hands on the earliest possible features, then Dev or Beta are the rings to go with. With Dev, you will get the features earliest, but will also experience many major bugs.

In the end, the decision is up to you and you can choose whatever ring you like.

Windows Insider Program FAQs

Is the Windows Insider Program Good or Bad?

It totally depends upon the user. If you are looking to experience the features earlier than others, then it’s good. If stability and bug-free UI is your priority, then it isn’t for you.

Is the Windows Insider Program Free?

Yes. Windows Insider Program is completely free of cost.

Is it good to join the Windows Insider program?

If you want to try out the new features of Windows 10 then it is definitely worth joining the Windows Insider program. It will be a good option for you.

How can I get Windows 10 for free?

First, you have to click on this link and log in with your Microsoft account. Now you have to select the Preview Channel, language English, and 32 or 64 bit and now you will be able to get the download link of the ISO file. Once you create a bootable Pendrive with that ISO file, install it on your PC. And while activating this windows 10, you have to use the same Microsoft account that you used to download the ISO file earlier. You will now have a windows 10 on your PC absolutely free. 

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Satish Shah
A Staff writer at Technical Jayendra and tech-enthusiast, programmer

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