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Program overview

Types of updates

After registering in the Windows Insider Program and installing your first Windows 10 Insider Preview build1, you will begin to receive updates to the device(s) you have enrolled. During the development process, the build number will change with each update. There are two different types of builds being delivered to your device(s):

Major builds

When a major build is released, is will include any combination of new features, updates to existing features, bug fixes, application changes, or other changes. For a major build, you will see the build number increment by 1 or more. Build numbers may or may not be consecutive based upon passing internal ring promotion criteria. For example, 14361 -> 14365.

Minor/servicing Builds

Also known as “Servicing” or “Cumulative” updates, these builds represent a smaller set of changes to a currently released Major Build. Servicing Builds often include bug fixes, minor operating system updates, or other smaller changes as needed. For example, 14361 -> 14361.1002 -> 14361.1003.

What to expect in each ring

While there is no set requirement for how build numbers are delivered to each ring, you will in general find the following to be true:

  • Fast Ring: Major Build releases, very few servicing builds.
  • Slow Ring: Major Build with minor build fixes attached.
  • Release Preview Ring: Major Build change at a release milestone and then a continued series of Servicing Builds until the next release milestone is reached.

How to find the build number on your PC

  • Go to Start, type winver, click “winver - run command

How to find the build number on your Mobile device

  • Go to Settings, System, About, More info, operating system build

Definition of rings

The options for the frequency of Windows 10 Insider Preview builds are called “rings.” Each ring presents a different level of stability and will be delivered on a different build cadence.

Rings are used to evaluate the quality of our software as it is released to progressively larger audiences. If the build passes all required automated testing in the lab, we will flight (release a build) with a new feature update, application, etc. to the first, most frequent, ring. The build will continue to be evaluated against a set of criteria to ensure it is ready to progress to the next ring. To get builds to Insiders faster, we changed the ordering of how we promote builds between rings, the ring progression criteria, and added a new ring.

Fast Ring

The benefit of being in the Fast Ring is that you will be among the first to use and provide feedback on new and improved features. If you have devices in the Fast Ring, you should be prepared for more issues that might block key activities or might require significant workarounds. Because we are also validating a build on a smaller set of devices before releasing, there is also a chance that some features might fail in some device configurations. If significantly blocked, report the issue to us in the Feedback Hub app or the Windows Insider forums and be ready to reinstall Windows using the Media Creation Tool, see instructions at Download Windows 10, or, for Mobile, the Windows Device Recovery Tool, see instructions at Windows Phone Device Recovery.

Slow Ring

The benefit of being in the Slow Ring is that you’ll still receive new updates and features on the Development Branch, but the builds will be more stable. Builds are sent to the Slow Ring after feedback has been received from Insiders on the Fast ring and analyzed by our Engineering teams. Slow Ring builds include updates to fix key issues that prevent many Windows Insiders from being able to use the build daily. These builds are still from the Development Branch and could have issues that might be addressed in a future flight.

Release Preview Ring

If you want to be on the current public release of Windows 10 but still get early access to updates, applications, and drivers without taking the risk of moving to the Development Branch, the Release Preview Ring is your best option. The Release Preview Ring is only visible when your Windows build version is the same as the current Production Branch. The easiest way to go between the Development Branch to the current Production Branch is to reinstall Windows using the Media Creation Tool, see instructions at Download Windows 10, or, for Mobile, the Windows Device Recovery Tool, see instructions at Windows Phone Device Recovery.

How to get support

Even though Insiders are self-sufficient people, the Microsoft team is ready to help you use Windows 10 Insider Preview builds. Along with the information provided in the How to section, the following options are available for support.

Windows Insider Blog

With each new build, we publish a Windows Blog post that outlines key feature changes as well as known issues that Insiders may encounter while using the build. Review the blog to stay up-to-date with news and information. Read the Windows Insider Blog today.

Feedback

Share feedback via the Feedback Hub. Other Insiders can add on to your feedback (or vice versa) and will allow you to create links to feedback that you can share for others to reference. Find out how to submit actionable feedback.

Forum

Insiders can filter between PC, Mobile, Office, Edge, and many other sections. There are also sub-topics that will help narrow down your search to find tailored content. Go to the Windows Insider forum .

Twitter

We’re social! You’ll find new build announcements, tips/tricks, quests, contests, as well as direct real-time support when available. Follow us @WindowsInsider and @Donasarkar.

Leave the program

Some of you might have want to roll back to your original operating system to no longer receive Windows Insider builds on one or more of your devices.

You can remain in the program and continue to receive communications about Windows Insider Previews but no longer receive builds. If you do want to completely leave the Windows Insider Program, you’ll need to unregister, unenroll and recover your device to a supported public build.

Unregister

On the Windows Insider Program website, sign in with your Microsoft Account (MSA) or your Azure Active Directory (AAD) account associated with the Windows Insider Program. Go to the page leave the program and click on the button, "Leave the Program".

Unenroll

On your PC, go to Settings>Update & Security>Windows Insider Program, select “Stop Insider Preview Builds” and follow the additional on-screen prompts.

On your mobile device, open Settings, select Update & Security, select Windows Insider Program, select “Stop Insider Preview Builds” and follow the additional on-screen prompts.

Recover your device

We recommend that you do stop getting builds when your device is on a Production Build so that you do not need to recover your device. Production builds are stable, receive servicing updates, will allow you to stay up-to-date and you will not lose any of the data on your device. If you unenroll while your device is running an Insider build, your device will remain on a build that will not receive future servicing updates, will have an expiry date set, and may contain security vulnerabilities.

To find out the current Production Build number, check the Windows Insider Blog.

To find the build number on your PC, go to Start, type winver, click “winver - run command.”

To find the build number on your mobile device, go to Settings > System > About > More info > (OS build).

Ensure you have backed up important photos, videos, contacts, and other files as needed. You will need to restore them after you have reinstalled the earlier operating system version. For more information about backing up your mobile device, see Windows 10 Mobile help.

To recover your PC to a current Production Build, you will need to install an earlier version of Windows using the Media Creation Tool, see instructions at Download Windows 10 or choose from the following depending on which previous version you are recovering to: Windows 7 Recovery Image, Windows 8 Recovery Image or Windows 10 Recovery Image.

To recover your mobile device to a current Production Build, you will need to return to your original operating system version using the Windows Device Recovery Tool. See instructions at Windows Phone Device Recovery.

  1. Windows Insider Preview may be substantially modified before it’s commercially released. Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information provided here. Some product features and functionality may require additional hardware or software.