Windows Insider Program: Fast Ring and Slow Ring, which one should you select and why?
Microsoft launched the Windows Insider Program, for Windows 10, last year.
In exchange for letting users download and install “Insider Preview Builds” (formerly called Technical Preview Builds), the Redmond Company relies on feedback from its users.
It will use feedback and suggestions to improve the operating system. Feedback is collected through various channels. For starters, there is the Windows Feedback App, and the Windows Insider Forums. The former is used for reporting feedback as well as suggestions to Microsoft. Other users can view suggestions and upvote them, which increases the chances of it being accepted by the company.
Microsoft also listens to feedback from the Uservoice forums, as well as social networks to gather information about bugs, and also to provide solutions for issues.
The Fast Ring of the Windows Insider Program is the more important one, as it gets new builds released for public testing. Builds made available to this ring are released as soon as they pass the criteria checks run by Microsoft’s OSG, (internal Operating System Groups).
The biggest advantage is that Fast Ring members are the first to try new features and apps, and the feedback from them factors in whether the new features are rolled out to the Slow Ring or not.
If you have a spare computer, or are willing to put up a brave face and face major bugs, the Fast Ring should be a walk in the park for you.
The Slow Ring is actually the Stable Ring, as builds released to it are generally devoid of major bugs. Issues found in Fast Ring Builds are fixed, and the build is tested for a few days to ensure stability. These stable builds are then released to the Slow Ring, hence the builds which this Ring gets are fewer in number.
Slow Ring Builds are also the only ones to get ISO’s which provides for an easy upgrade experience.
Fast vs Slow Ring: Advantages
1. Fast Ring users get to test new features and apps before Slow Ring users.
2. Fast Ring Builds are released very often. Recently Microsoft released 3 new builds in a single week.
3. Slow Ring Builds are very stable, and offer a good performance experience with minimal bugs.
4. Slow Ring Builds are rolled out with ISO’s. This helps in a smooth update experience, and also saves precious bandwidth, in case of failed updates or if you want to update multiple computers.
Fast vs Slow Ring: Disadvantages
1. Fast Ring gets builds very often, but is plagued with issues, which are sometimes serious bugs.
2. Fast Ring Builds may not be suitable for you, if you are on a limited data connection, as 64-bit Builds are around 4GB in size, while 32-bit Builds are around 32 GB in size.
3. Microsoft does not release ISO’s of Windows 10 Fast Ring Builds.
4. Slow Ring Builds are released very slowly, mostly once in a month, or once every two months are so. As a result, you may miss out on using a lot of new features for a while.
5. Preview Builds are set to auto-expire after a certain date, so users need to update to newer builds to avoid boot failure.
How to Switch from the Fast Ring to the Slow Ring:
- Click on Start > Settings > Update & Security > Advanced Options.
- Scroll down till you see “Get Insider Builds”. Below it you will find a drop down menu which lists the current ring you have selected.
- Click on it to select “Fast” or “Slow”.
That’s all you have to do to change between the Rings.
Windows 10 is launching on July 29th, which is just about 20 days away. Microsoft has announced that the Windows Insider Program will continue beyond the release of the final build of Windows 10, and that Preview Builds will continue to be provided to Insiders.