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How to join the Windows 10 Insider preview program

Jared Newman | Feb. 29, 2016
Want to experience unreleased Windows 10 features? Here’s what you need to know to become a Windows 10 Insider.

Choose a ring

Once you’ve hopped on board the Windows Insider program, you can choose from three levels of preview builds, ranging from most stable with fewest new features, to least stable with lots of rapid changes. Here’s how Microsoft describes them:

  • Release Preview: Best for Insiders who enjoy seeing early access to updates for the Current Branch, Microsoft applications, and drivers with minimal risk to their devices, and still want to make Windows devices great.
  • Slow: Best for Insiders who enjoy seeing preview builds with minimal risk to their devices, and still want to provide feedback to make Windows devices great.
  • Fast: Best for Insiders who enjoy being the first to identify issues, provide suggestions, and ideas to make Windows devices great.

Note that by default, you’re signed up for Release Preview, but you can switch rings at any time. Just head to the Windows Update menu in Windows Settings, select Advanced Options, and adjust the slider near the bottom of the screen.

Stop the train, I want to get off

Want to get back to the main, stable version of Windows 10? That’s easy, or at least it’s supposed to be. Return to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update, then select Advanced Options. You’ll see an option for “Stop Insider Preview Builds.”

A pop-up window will appear, with an option to turn Insider Preview builds back on in one, three, or five days. Alternatively, you can click “Stop receiving Insider Preview builds” to remain on the main version of Windows indefinitely.

As Microsoft itself warns, this method may not work in all cases, which is why it’s a good idea to set a restore point beforehand. If all else fails, you can reinstall Windows 10 from scratch, and hopefully transfer all the precious you dutifully backed up earlier.

 

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