How to preview and deploy Windows 10 and 11 updates

How to preview and deploy Windows 10 and 11 updates

Once upon a time, making a choice about how you updated Windows was easy: Let Microsoft decide. The company had a release cycle, and you went along for the ride.

Those days seem so quaint now. Today there are multiple “channels” to choose from, with complicated nomenclature. Should you opt for the Windows Insider Dev Channel? Should you update Windows 10 and 11 as soon as new versions are released to the General Availability Channel?

We feel your pain, and we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll explain how to handle Windows 10 and 11 previews and updates and how to choose the right Insider and release channels for you.

We’ve divided the piece into two sections, one for individuals and one for IT admins. So hunker down and get ready to master the ins and outs of Windows previews and updates.

This article has been updated for Windows 10 version 21H2, also known as the November 2021 Update, and for the initial release of Windows 11. If you have an earlier release of Windows 10, some things might look different.

Individuals: Choosing a Windows 10 or 11 preview channel

Let’s start with the basics. If you have absolutely no interest in getting the latest Windows 10 or 11 updates before they’re released to the general public, you don’t need to do anything. Windows Update will let you know when an update is ready, and you choose whether to install it right away or wait a while to update. If you want to defer normal Windows 10 or 11 updates, or customize the way updates happen, check out our story “How to handle Windows 10 and 11 updates.”

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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