Windows 10 Insider Previews: A guide to the builds

Windows 10 Insider Previews: A guide to the builds

Microsoft never sleeps. In addition to its steady releases of major and minor updates to the current version of Windows 10, the company frequently rolls out public preview builds to members of its Windows Insider Program, allowing them to test out — and even help shape — upcoming features.

Microsoft numbers Windows 10 releases using a YYH1/YYH2 format, with the YY standing for the last two numbers of the year and H1 or H2 referring to the first or second half of the year. So the most recent version of Windows 10 is officially referred to as Windows 10 version 21H1, or the May 2021 Update. The next feature update, due in the fall of 2021, will be version 21H2.

Windows Insiders can choose to receive preview builds in one of three channels. The Dev Channel is where new features are introduced for initial testing, regardless of which Windows release they’ll eventually end up in. The Beta Channel lets you test more polished features that will be deployed in the next major Windows release. Insiders in the Dev and Beta Channels are now testing Windows 11 builds (see “Windows 11 Insider Previews: What’s in the latest build?”).

The Release Preview Channel typically doesn’t see action until shortly before a new feature update is rolled out; it’s meant for final testing of an upcoming release and is best for those who want the most stable builds. This is the only Insider channel that is receiving Windows 10 builds. If you were in the Dev or Beta Channel but your PC doesn’t meet Windows 11 requirements, you have been moved to the Release Preview Channel.

Use the links below to find information about recent Windows 10 preview builds:

For each build, we’ve included the date of its release, which Insider channel it was released to, a summary of what’s in the build, and a link to Microsoft’s announcement about it. After that you’ll find summaries of the preview builds that led up to earlier Windows 10 feature updates.

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