It’s sensible to backup your files and create a system restore point you can return to before signing up
It’s sensible to backup your files and create a system restore point you can return to before signing up

Windows 10 updates: How to test new features before everyone else

Insider Program gives access to latest operating system builds as soon as they’re available, but there's an element of risk

Aatif Sulleyman
Saturday 18 March 2017 09:32
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Microsoft is currently finalising a major new update to Windows 10 that looks set to arrive in April, but users can try it out ahead of its launch.

The Creators Update will introduce a raft of new features, including Paint 3D, Beam game streaming, new accessibility features, including braille support, as well as a multitude of performance and security tweaks and enhancements.

In order to get a taste of them before they officially arrive, Windows 10 users can join Microsoft’s Windows 10 Insider Program.

Doing so gives you access to all of the latest Windows 10 builds as soon as they’re available, and you can help shape the future of the operating system by providing feedback on the new features.

However, before joining the Windows 10 Insider Program, be aware that you’ll be signing up to use unfinished pre-release software that might not work as it’s supposed to.

We therefore wouldn’t recommend doing so on a computer you’re heavily reliant upon, or an expensive machine. A cheap, secondary laptop you wouldn’t mind exposing to potential bugs, on the other hand, is ideal.

Even then, it’s sensible to backup your files and create a system restore point you can return to in case something goes wrong.

Once you’ve done that, here’s how to sign up for the Windows 10 Insider Program:

  • Open the Settings menu on your Windows 10 computer
  • Select Update & Security
  • Hit Windows Insider Program and Get Started
  • Log in with your Microsoft account

At this stage, you’ll be asked to confirm that you’re happy to install pre-release software, and that you may need to wipe your PC and reinstall Windows in order to stop receiving Insider Preview builds.

After restarting your computer, navigate to the Windows Insider Program menu again and choose your Insider Level, also called rings. The options are as follows:

  • Fast: You always get access to the latest Windows 10 build, but also expose yourself to the most bugs 
  • Slow: You get access to pre-release builds, but not as early as Fast Ring Insiders
  • Release Preview: The default option, you don't get access to new builds, but receive important security fixes and operating system updates before regular users

From here, you can hit Windows Update to try out the software's newest features.

If, however, you want to return to the regular version of Windows 10 at any point, you can do so by hitting Advanced Options in the Windows Insider Program menu and selecting Stop receiving Insider Preview builds.

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