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Microsoft Considering Faster Releases of Windows 10 Previews

Microsoft may release its next build of the Windows 10 preview late this week, or it may not.

That ambiguous message is coming from Gabriel Aul, in a Microsoft announcement today. Aul is general manager for the data and fundamentals team for Microsoft's Operating System Group. He's also the main communicator about Windows 10 preview details and build releases, typically via this Twitter-feed page.

Microsoft typically would push out a new build of the Windows 10 preview during its monthly update, called "patch Tuesday, which happens on the second Tuesday of every month. However, that may or may not happen this time. The next patch Tuesday will be tomorrow, March 10.

Aul noted today that the next build of the Windows 10 preview is overdue. Microsoft previously described a 30-day release goal and it's been 40 days since the last release. He didn't explain why the hold-up had taken place. Instead, he described Microsoft's release process more generally, with its various "rings" (see chart).

[Click on image for larger view.] Microsoft's build release process. Source: March 9 Windows blog.

The internal "Canary" ring at Microsoft gets the earliest look. Later, the build gets sent to Operating System Group internal testers. After that point, the build gets released to public Windows Insider program testers. Fast-ring Windows Insiders testers get releases with more bugs, but they also get access to the build earlier than the Slow-ring testers. Aul explained back in January that most Windows Insider testers (about 90 percent) have opted for the slower release schedule.

Aul suggested that Microsoft may adopt a new release cycle that could be less predictable than releasing the next Windows 10 preview build every 30 days. Instead, Microsoft's development team possibly could start to release multiple builds of the preview each month.

It's possible that there will be two Windows 10 preview builds released in March, Aul suggested, or not. The development team doesn't want to be tied down on the point. He said that the multiple-build release idea is more at the aspirational level at this point, though.

Microsoft has even considered what Aul called a "ludicrous" release speed for its Windows 10 builds. So far, though, Microsoft has been more conservative and aimed at releasing more stable builds of Windows 10, he claimed.

Of course, Windows Insider program testers are at the mercy of Microsoft's release cycles anyway. Windows 10 builds get pushed down automatically through the Windows Update service to Windows Insider testers. That's a relatively new approach that Microsoft adopted for its OS preview releases.

Aul said that Microsoft wasn't trying to be "opaque" about its Windows 10 preview build communications. It's just contemplating other ways of getting it out to Windows Insider testers at this point, including a faster approach that could deliver less stable builds than currently seen.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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