Windows Insider: Fast Ring has no fixed releases anymore

[German]In the release notes of the first Windows 10 20H2 Insider Preview, Microsoft has announced another major change in the Windows Insider program. There will be no more fixed releases with assignment to a Windows 10 version in the Fast Ring. Feature updates, but also new features shipped with ordinary updates may be tested within this channel.


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Microsoft published the night yes Build 19536 of the first Windows 10 20H2 Insider Preview in the Fast Ring. I had reported about it in the blog post Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 19536 (20H2).

Some changes in Insider Preview Fast Ring

What I had not understand in detail, were Brandon LeBlanc’s remarks on the Windows Blog regarding the Skip Ahead ring’s abandonment and the new Fast Ring’s tasks for Windows insiders. It is about the following passage from the blog post.

Internally, our engineers work in development cycles with various milestones. The active development branch (called “RS_PRERELEASE”) is where the teams check in all their latest code changes into the OS. Moving forward, the Fast ring will receive builds directly from this active development branch and new features will show up in these builds first. While features in the active development branch may be slated for a future Windows 10 release, they are no longer matched to a specific Windows 10 release. This means that builds from the active development branch simply reflect the latest work in progress code from our engineers. New features and OS improvements done in this branch during these development cycles will show up in future Windows 10 releases when they are ready. And we may deliver these new features and OS improvements as full OS build updates or servicing releases.

German blogger Martin Geuß noticed that, and wrote about that. In the above text, we learn that the Fast Ring builds will be obtained directly from the active development branches of Microsoft developers. New features will be tested there in the Fast Ring. But Microsoft no longer assigns the Fast Ring a fixed Windows 10 version from development with fixed release cycles.

This means that builds from the active development branch simply reflect the latest work in progress code from Microsoft developers. New features and operating system improvements tested in this branch can either be included in future Windows 10 feature updates (has been so far). However, it is also possible that something will be tested that will enter the current Windows 10 release via Windows Update a few weeks later. Microsoft can provide new features and operating system improvements as full OS build updates or maintenance releases. This is a fundamental change, i.e. as a Windows insider in the fast ring you can never be sure what you are testing.


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