Getting started

Join the Windows Insider Program and help shape the future of Windows Server. It’s as easy as 1. Register, 2. Install, 3. Engage.

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1. Register

Join the Windows Insider Program using your personal account or your organization account.

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2. Install

Install Windows Server Insider Preview builds.

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3. Engage

Give us your feedback via the Feedback Hub and join our tech community.

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1. Register

You have two registration options:

  1. Register your organization account (recommended)
    Registering in the Windows Insider Program with your organization account in Azure Active Directory (AAD) lets you and your colleagues submit feedback on behalf of your organization and help shape Windows to meet your specific business needs. Registering with your organization account requires Windows 10 Version 1703 or later. If you do not have an AAD account, find out how to get an Azure Active Directory tenant.
REGISTER YOUR ORGANIZATION ACCOUNT
  1. Register your personal account
    Use the same account that you use for other Microsoft services. If you don’t have a Microsoft account, it is easy to get one. Get a Microsoft account.
REGISTER YOUR PERSONAL ACCOUNT

2. Install

Once you are registered, go to the Windows Server Insider Preview page and download the current build. Matching debugging symbols are also provided. Windows Server builds are made available for you to download and install at your discretion. Microsoft will not automatically install newer builds on your servers. Containers are available via Docker Hub. For more information about Windows Server containers and Insider builds, please visit Windows Containers Documentation.

When new builds are available, announcements will be posted in the Windows Insider Program blog, the Windows Server blog, Windows Server Insiders forum and the announcements section of the Feedback Hub App1.

INSTALL WINDOWS SERVER INSIDER PREVIEW AND TOOLS

3. Engage

Provide feedback using the Feedback Hub App1. Select the Server category and appropriate Subcategory for your feedback. Add attachments as appropriate. Be sure to include the build number that you are providing feedback on. When you register with your AAD account, you can also search in the Hub to see feedback from other Insiders in your organization. Feedback per organization is only viewable by Microsoft and the users registered under your company’s domain in AAD. Find out how to provide constructive feedback.

Engage with the Windows Server Insider Tech Community to deepen your connections with the IT Pro community, collaborate and learn from experts, and more quickly resolve critical issues.

FEEDBACK HUB
WINDOWS SERVER INSIDER TECH COMMUNITY

Resources

Windows Server Semi-Annual Channel Overview

Windows Containers (operating system level virtualization that allows multiple isolated applications to be run on a single system)

Options for remote administration of Windows Server

Windows Server home page

Windows Server Insider Preview Build Highlights

Windows Server 2019 Preview Build 17650

April 24, 2018

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Storage Replica (SR)

We've added improvements to SR: SR replicates a single volume instead of an unlimited number of volumes, volumes can have one partnership instead of an unlimited number of partners, and volumes can have a size of up to 2 TB instead of an unlimited size.

Failover Clustering: File Share Witness

File Share Witness has two new enhancements. We added logic to detect if a share uses Distributed File System (DFS), and if DFS is detected, Failover Cluster Manager blocks creation of the witness and displays an error message about not being supported. The second enhancement enables use of an FSW for several scenarios that were previously not supported.

Failover clustering: Moving Clusters between domains

We have added two new PowerShell commandlets to quickly take you from one domain to another without the need to destroy it. For more information about this new capability, see How to Switch a Failover Cluster to a New Domain in Server & Management blogs.

Windows Server 2019 Preview Build 17639

April 10, 2018

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In-place OS Upgrade

Build 17639 introduces the Storage Migration Service (SMS), a new role included in Windows Server Standard and Datacenter editions. SMS is a job-based orchestration and proxy that allows administrators to inventory existing servers for their data, security, and network settings, migrates that data, security, and network settings to a new modern target using the SMB protocol, and takes over the identity of that old server completely, while decommissioning the original source, in such a way that is transparent to the user and their applications.

Windows Server 2019 Preview Build 17623

March 20, 2018

Read the Windows Server Blog Post

In-place OS Upgrade

Today is a big day for Windows Server! We are delighted to announce the availability of the Windows Server vNext LTSC preview with general availability by the end of this year. Starting today, you can get access to the initial preview build through our Insiders Program.

This is the first preview for the next Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) and includes Windows Server with desktop experience and core installation options. The LTSC continues to be the recommended version of Windows Server for many scenarios, including workloads like Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft SharePoint, and Windows Server Software-defined solutions.

This build includes new functionality and improvements to many security functions including Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, Windows Defender ATP Exploit Guard, removal of NTLM authentication from Failover Cluster, the ability to run Shielded Virtual Machines with new fallback HGS and offline mode features and new performance history for Storage Spaces Direct. See this blog post for more information.

Windows Server Insider Preview Build 17079

January 23, 2018

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In-place OS Upgrade

Customers are now able to upgrade their Windows Server, version 1709 installations to the current preview build using In-place OS Upgrade. This feature is available starting in build 17079. This feature also enables customers to perform build-to-build upgrade of the next released preview build.

Running setup.exe, customers should be presented with the option to “Keep personal files and apps”, which causes the migration steps in setup.exe to run and upgrade Windows Server while preserving applications, data, and user settings.

Developers and Containers

  • Optimized Server Core container base images (30% smaller). Available on Windows Insider Docker Hub here
  • MSMQ now installs in a Server Core container
  • Key Application Compatibility bug fixes

For more details, please see the Window Virtualization Blog here.

Windows Server Insider Preview Build 17074

January 16, 2018

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Storage Spaces Direct (S2D)

In this preview build we continue to expand and simplify the hardware for Storage Spaces Direct. SCSI Enclosure Services (SES) is no longer required for Storage Spaces Direct to be compatible, this unlocks a breath of new hardware which was not capable of running S2D. Storage Spaces Direct now also supports Persistent Memory (aka. Storage Class Memory), this unlocks a new class of extremely low latency storage which is incredibly interesting in particular as a caching device. Storage Spaces Direct now also supports Direct-connect SATA devices to AHCI controller, again this will expand the hardware ecosystem compatible with S2D as well as unlock a new class of low cost hardware. In this preview we have also enabled the Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) Cache is enabled by default, which delivers an in-memory write-through cache that can dramatically boost VM performance.

Failover Clustering

In this preview we have introduced enhancements to Azure enlightened Failover Clusters, with enhanced eventing on host maintenance events and nodes about to be in host maintenance are excluded from placement. By making high availability software running inside of an Azure IaaS VM be aware of maintenance events of the host, it can help deliver the highest levels of availability for your applications.

Windows Server Insider Preview Build 17035

November 15, 2017

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Storage Spaces Direct (S2D)

Storage Spaces Direct is the foundation of our hyper-converged solution and we’re continuing to evolve it. In this preview build we not only brought it back, but we’re adding some new and important updates to it – such as support for Data Deduplication, a commonly requested feature for Storage Spaces Direct and ReFS. Starting with this build, Data Deduplication will reduce the data footprint by up to 50%.

  1. To use this link, make sure that you have administrator rights to your machine and that it has latest Windows updates.