Now that we are just a month out from the Anniversary Update is it okay to join the Insider program and get the new OS early?

Last night, Microsoft released build 14376 for Fast Ring Insiders on PC and Mobile, and even Slow Ring got bumped to 14372. Then this morning Microsoft announced that the Windows 10 Anniversary Update will be officially released on August 2 (and yes, that is all editions including Mobile and Xbox One).

Clearly, we are on the last leg of the Redstone 1/Anniversary Update development cycle, and many users are now asking if they should take the plunge to Fast Ring. I've been running these releases on a few devices and will share my recommendations and experiences.

Before we get started make sure you check out what is coming in the Anniversary Update in our article "Windows 10 Anniversary Update: All the features and changes coming later this summer".

Windows 10 Anniversary Update on PC and Surface

Currently, I am running build 14372 or 14376 on five PCs and installing it on another two, those include:

  • Dell XPS 15 (9550) – Build 14372
  • Surface Book – Build 14376
  • Surface Pro 4 (Core m3) – Build 14366 to 14376
  • Surface Pro 4 (Core i5) – Build 10586.240 to 14376 (in progress)
  • Samsung Notebook 9 (15-inch) – Build 14372 (updating to 14376)
  • Huawei MateBook (Core m5) – Build 14376
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S – Jumping from Production to Fast Ring

I can enthusiastically recommend installing Redstone build 14372 (Slow) or 14376 (Fast) on most modern PCs, tablets, or laptops. I cannot say I am running into a single issue on any of those devices, nor have I for the last three builds in the Fast Ring. I am also now getting ready to install it on my main desktop PC.

Of course, I'd be remiss to point out that all PCs are different, make sure you do a proper backup, etc. and that you experience may vary. But so far, none of us are suffering any significant or even minor issues. There are a few, but minor quirks with some apps you may notice, but Microsoft has been quick to update those apps on a regular interval.

While there is a small risk in doing an Insider update at this stage, Microsoft is just putting the polish on the builds, sanding the edges down, and getting it ready to ship. Insiders usually get the "Gold" shipping version one to two weeks ahead of the public release date so there will likely be one or two more releases to go to hit that build (you'll know when the watermark in the lower right corner magically disappears).

Overall, however, the preview experience for PC is just great, so jump on in.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update on Mobile

Microsoft is also updated Windows 10 Mobile for the Anniversary Update, and if you are running a Windows phone, you may want to know if you should jump into today as well. Microsoft has not said as much about Mobile if only because it's just another SKU for them, but it too should be updated around the same time as PC.

Nonetheless, the picture here is a little less clear if you should update right now.

Overall, the experience of the Fast Ring has been great on my Lumia 650, Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL. However, there is one issue that I and a few others are having, and it relates to Wi-Fi disconnections. Microsoft is actively trying to fix this problem and in fact are imploring you to lend them a hand in this forum post, but for the last three builds, it has not yet been fixed.

Personally speaking, this Wi-Fi disconnect problem is the only issue I am having and since I am on Wi-Fi constantly it is a rather frustrating one. Your phone's Wi-Fi will be connected, then eventually slow down, and then just show as 'No Internet'. From my experience, only rebooting the phone will bring it back and even then it's a temporary solution. I even recently swapped out my router for a new FiOS Quantum one with 100Mbps speeds and still have the issue.

Regarding stability, speed, and features, once you go to an Anniversary preview build it is very hard to go back. New features that I am finding difficult to live without include: the new Microsoft Authenticator app, the Your Groove feature in Groove Music, Microsoft Wallet (Tap to Pay), new Store UI with app update history, and how the Iris scanner won't turn on if the device is PIN unlocked during its timeout period.

Having said that, the current 10586.420 (and now .456) Production release is running so well on my other Lumia 950 that I find it hard to pass on that stability and performance.

Because phones tend to be a little quirkier if I were running an x50 series device I would wait until Microsoft figures out this Wi-Fi disconnect issue. It's not universal, and the majority of users do not appear to suffer from the bug. But if you do end up experiencing your Wi-Fi dropping it can be a frustrating experience. At the very least, be aware of the risk before making a decision.

How to enroll as a Windows Insider?

If you are new to the Insider Preview program for Mobile or PC, you can check out my guide: How to join the Windows Insider Program to get started!

It's very easy to enroll and get started, and it's even easier with the Anniversary Update.

Tips on going to Slow or Fast Ring

If you do decide to take the plunge on either PC or Mobile to the Anniversary Preview (Slow or Fast Ring), here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • For official support or to post question you can go to the Microsoft Insider Program Community Forums to browse for topics, or post about your issues
  • Switching Rings and especially enrolling for the first time can take up to one day to take effect. That is, you may have to wait a day before 'Check for updates' pulls down a new build. Be patient. Often, it goes much faster (and switching rings is faster than enrolling).
  • Un-enrolling – Once Microsoft pushes the 'final' Redstone release to the Insider Rings sometime in July and you lose the watermark, you can Stop Insider Builds and just stay at the production level going forward.
  • Post Anniversary Update (August 2) the Slow and Fast Rings will likely be used for fixes, patches of Redstone 1 for a few weeks maybe even a month or two. At some point, however, Microsoft will begin to push Redstone 2 to the Fast Ring and initiate the dev cycle again for the next release of Windows 10 slated for early 2017. First releases in Fast Ring for a new dev cycle can be rough, so we'll revisit that issue later this fall.
  • Check for app updates after an OS upgrade! Go to the Windows Store and manually check for app updates after your OS updates. Insider builds are more than just the OS as there are the corresponding app builds that only Insiders get to go with the new features. For instance, to get the new Store experience you need to update the Store via the Store. Same applies to the new Groove 'Your Groove' feature so don't miss out.

I hope this article helps in your decision-making process. As I mentioned at the beginning, we are really at the end of the Anniversary Update development cycle with only minor patching left. You should be okay to join the Fast Ring now and get the latest Windows 10 Release a full month ahead of schedule and not have to worry about stability. Mobile is a little trickier, so your experience may vary.

Need more help? Check out our Windows 10 community forums, which have many users on the latest build and who are sharing their experiences. Join the conversation!