Microsoft has introduced a yet another path for tech enthusiasts in the Windows Insider Programme. If you have been following the updates closely and are a member of Fast Ring, then you probably might be aware that Microsoft has stopped pushing update for the Inbox apps and as a result you couldn’t see any inbox app update with apps like Photos, Skype, Groove, and Movies & TV etc. in the Store.
— Dona Sarkar (@donasarkar) July 25, 2017
Now, in order to give Windows Insiders a chance to receive inbox app updates as new builds are released, Microsoft is introducing “Skip Ahead to the next Windows release” option in the flight settings via Settings > Update & Security > Windows Insider Program.
Now, I get it. By the time thoughts would have already popped up in your mind, what now?
Let’s make it simple and straight.
- In order to receive RS4 builds (+ App Updates), you should choose “Skip Ahead to the next release” from the drop-down menu. Windows Insiders who choose to skip ahead will receive builds from the RS_PRERELEASE branch.
- To continue testing Windows 10 FCU builds, stay on the Fast Ring. Windows Insiders in the Fast ring will continue to get builds for the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update from RS3_RELEASE branch. (No inbox app updates, though)
Before the excitement of RS4 builds makes you commit, there are a few things to take utmost note of:
- Builds from RS_PRERELEASE will get buggy like hell and things will get rough as is the case with early Insider Preview build after a Windows 10 release. If this concerns you or makes you uncomfortable – don’t choose to skip ahead and simply wait for the Fast ring to transition back to RS_PRERELEASE down the road.
- Microsoft is not opening the flood gates for all Windows Insider members on the Fast Ring who opt to “Skip Ahead”, but the enrollment will be limited. Once Microsoft gets a significant number of heads on board, the doors to RS4 early testing will be shut.
We also need to have Windows Insiders in the Fast ring helping us get the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update ready and giving us feedback on issues they are experiencing. So there will be a limit as to how many Windows Insiders can skip ahead. Once that limit is met, the UI on the flight settings page will notify Windows Insiders trying to choose to skip ahead that it’s been closed.
Since these changes are just rolling out, builds from the RS_PRERELEASE and RS3_RELEASE branches will be virtually identical. But at some point in the future, you will not be able to leave Skip Ahead (without reinstalling Windows) and go back to RS3_RELEASE.
This will be indicated with the possible diversion in the build numbers differentiating the RS3_RELEASE from RS_PRERELEASE branch. Once the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is released to the general public, this skip ahead option will go away and the Fast ring will be back to receiving builds from the RS_PRERELEASE branch for the next Windows 10 release and inbox app updates from the Store will be fully restored to all Windows Insiders in the Fast and Slow rings.
What to choose?
If you are comfortable with handling nasty bugs as part of being an Insider, it wouldn’t be a great deal to opt for RS4 or RS_PRERELEASE branch by choosing “Skip Ahead“. This will also enable inbox app updates in the store if this is something that bothered you over the course of time.
However, if you are someone who doesn’t want or care about the frequent store app updates, but wants to continue to test new builds for FCU and provide feedback to Microsoft, you are better with Fast Ring and no action is needed on your part.
All in all, the excitement of being an Insider has just got to a new level. This is also the first time, Microsoft will let Insiders test Development branch builds for the next major update i.e. RS4, possibly in Spring 2018.