Windows Insiders: The Importance of the Dev Channel

Very likely, Windows Insiders is the most successful software testing program in the world. With it, Microsoft has managed to attract an entire army of enthusiasts willing to put some of their time and at least one PC into the service of trying out new versions, features, and updates to Windows before they are released. In this way, said users test said novelties and, in one way or another, provide feedback to Microsoft about them.


In exchange, participants in the Windows Insiders program, generally technical users who like to try the latest, can do so before the rest of the world. And either for an altruistic motivation, by trying to collaborate in polishing the new features of Windows before they reach all users, or of a more personal and playful type, by having the personal experience of trying it before anyone else, Microsoft has managed to create a whole legion of insiders.


In the time between the announcement of Windows 11 and the arrival of its final version for some users, the Windows Insiders program received a high volume of new users. Why? Well, because months before the launch of the new version of Windows, it was already possible to obtain and test preliminary versions of it through the program. So much so, that in August of last year Microsoft had to warn of the risks of being an insider of the Dev channel on computers intended for personal or professional use.


Just a few days ago we told you that Microsoft has announced changes to Windows Insiders, changes that we can summarize by stating that, for those who like to try the latest,the experience will become even more interesting. Of the points that we already told you then, I review these two today:

  • Microsoft will offer feature and experience updates from the development and beta channels by releasing experience packs online and not just on Windows Update.
  • To complete the changes and starting today, Insiders who are on the Dev channel cannot switch to another without doing a clean install. Microsoft will soon offer an option to do so.

 

And I’m highlighting these two points because, in the post announcing these (and other) changes to the Windows Insiders program, there’s a piece of text that tells us that the Dev channel will start to be still more interesting than it has been so far:

«As part of this ongoing evolution, Windows Insiders will see that we rely more heavily on the development channel as a place to incubate new ideas, work on long-running items and control the states of individual features«, we can read.

«This allows us to experiment in a number of ways: releasing features in stages to control quality and user feedback (something we’ve already done to a great extent), and testing variations of the features (what is known as “A/B testing”). Features and experiences from these builds could appear in future versions of Windows when they’re ready. In some cases, these concepts will never be released, but by experimenting further, we can refine experiences and deliver solutions on Windows that truly enable our customers to achieve more.«.

The company also emphasizes that the functions that are tested in the Dev channel do not have to be related to a specific version of Windows, unlike what happens more frequently. usual in the Beta channel and, above all, of course, in preview, the Windows Insiders channel recommended by Microsoft for systems in daily use, and in which an operating system failure can cause damage to the user.

More information: Microsoft