Microsoft lets cautious users try more of Windows 10’s leading edge

The new Release Preview ring lets users get new features without the risk of computer-breaking bugs

Microsoft's Windows 10 betas have officially become a three-ring circus.

The company announced Wednesday that in addition to the Windows Insider Program's traditional Fast and Slow distribution rings that let the public test upcoming versions of Windows 10, there will also be a Release Preview ring that lets users get an early glimpse of what's coming to their PC while retaining stability. 

People who opt in to the Release Preview ring will remain on the current version of Windows 10 until Microsoft has an update it considers ready for general release. Release Preview users will get the update early. It's similar to what the company is doing with its Office Insider program, which gives users who opt in a few weeks of early access to new Office 2016 features before they're rolled out to users more broadly. 

At the same time, the company is taking steps to give users on the Fast and Slow rings quicker access to new features, at some risk to their daily productivity.

The Windows Insider Fast and Slow rings are part of what Microsoft calls the Development Branch of Windows 10 -- versions of the operating system that are still under development and may have serious bugs. 

Microsoft is starting to roll out features to the Fast ring with less testing than it performed in the past. That means users who want to be at the bleeding edge of public updates to Windows 10 will sometimes find that things they rely on are broken until a new update gets released. The Slow ring will get updates with the most egregious bugs squished, but users on that ring can still expect to get builds with some bugs in them. 

People who want their computers to continue running as expected should choose the new Release Preview ring, which is only available to people running the current consumer build of Windows 10. That means folks who are currently running an Insider Preview version of the operating system will have to reinstall Windows in order to get access to it. 

Ultimately, this change seems like good news all around: People who are okay with sacrificing their computer, tablet or phone to bugs will be able to stay on the bleeding edge, while those people who want some early access to features without negatively affecting the day-to-day use of their Windows 10 device can get that, too.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?