Windows 10 Insiders have been able to preview new builds relatively easy over the past few months. For anyone interested, there is a website to visit, a signup process to go through and lastly a download to complete. It has been as hassle-free as that to get started and to begin offering feedback on the latest version of Windows.
As of July 29th, Microsoft is making some changes to the process, and Windows 10 gatekeeper, Gabe Aul is giving Insiders a heads up on the upcoming changes to Windows 10 Insider Preview builds. During the signup process, most Insiders were encouraged to link their Microsoft Account (MSA) to their builds, but this was not a requirement. Starting next build, however, Insiders will begin to start seeing notifications asking for them to connect their MSA. According to Gabe, “You’ll need to connect the MSA that you registered for the Windows Insider Program with (and accepted the “Microsoft Windows Insider Program Agreement”) in order to continue receiving new Windows 10 Insider Preview builds (both Fast and Slow rings) from Windows Update.”
The Windows team is also implementing a new infrastructure for Windows Updates. The new setup will help them deliver new builds more efficiently to Windows Insiders. Another added benefit of Insiders linking their MSA is gaining access to Windows Insider-only functionality in the Windows Feedback app as well as the Insider Hub.
To be clear, this change is only for the Windows Insider Program. Those looking to upgrade directly to Windows 10 after July 29th, will not need a MSA linked to Windows 10 on prior Windows devices. MSAs will also not be required for new PCs that come pre-installed with Windows 10 or clean installs from media. To make use of all of the Windows 10 features like downloading apps, a MSA will still be required.
Gabe is also asking current Insiders to stay Insiders and continue to help shape future releases of Windows 10.
“As we’ve announced before, the Windows Insider Program will continue even after we release Windows 10 on July 29th. Windows Insiders will continue to receive future flights as we begin to work on the next release immediately after Windows 10 ships. You’ll get to see the latest Windows fixes, features, and updates and give us feedback. So stay with us! Of course, we’ll provide you an option to leave the program and stay on the final build if you choose: but we hope that we’ll continue to provide you great reasons to remain a Windows Insider.”
Gabe also warns of the removal of the default Insider Hub and Windows Feedback app. “Because we’re getting ready for the final release, we’re removing a few things we don’t expect to ship to everyone. So starting with the next build, the Insider Hub will no longer be pre-installed.” Windows Insiders can reinstall the Insider Hub app through the following steps:
- Go to Settings, System, Apps & features
- Click Manage optional features then Add a feature
- Select the Insider Hub entry (the list is in alphabetical order) and click Install.
Apparently this process will have to be done with each new build leading up to the July 29th release. After July 29th, the app will be pre-installed again. While the feedback app will be included in the final release of Windows 10, Windows Insiders who have registered with an MSA connected to their PC will receive specific functionality within the app.
Lastly, Windows Insider should finally see the name change of Project Spartan officially change over to Edge. With the name change comes a few more caveats.
One result of this naming means that the Microsoft Edge app has a new app ID. This will cause any favorites, cookies, history and Reading list items that you had saved in the Project Spartan app to be lost after upgrading from a previous Windows 10 Insider Preview build. If you want to keep these, you will need to backup your favorites before the next flight! To save your favorites, follow these steps before upgrading to the next build we release (do it now):
- Copy your favorites from: %localappdata%/Packages/Microsoft.Windows.Spartan_cw5n1h2txyewy/AC/Spartan/User/Default/Favorites.
- Save them to %userprofile%/Favorites.
- After upgrading to the next build open Microsoft Edge, choose Settings, and you’ll see an option to import favorites from another browser. Choose Internet Explorer to import the favorites you saved in your %userprofile% directory into Microsoft Edge.
So with this news, happy hunting Insiders.