Microsoft created the Windows Insider Program to allow developers as well as enthusiasts to test and provide feedback of the new features and enhancements coming in the next version of Windows 10.

The program is available with four different readiness levels, which are commonly known as "rings," including Fast, Slow, Release Preview, and Skip, and they represent the stability of the code. Typically, the "Fast" ring offers new features and changes as soon as they're ready without enough internal testing. Roughly every two weeks, but it'll depend on the development stage. As a result, preview builds in this ring may not be stable, and you need to be prepared to deal with more bugs, errors, and other issues.

The "Slow" ring also provides early access to upcoming features and changes, but the builds are a little more stable. Usually, previews will appear in this ring after the development team improved and resolved issues based on feedback. The only caveat is that updates in the Slow ring are not available as often as in the Fast ring.

If you use the "Release Preview" ring, you'll receive previews of quality updates, drivers, and apps. However, because every version of Windows 10 must pass through every level of readiness, when the new feature update is complete, it'll become available in the Release Preview too. Also, starting with the May 2019 Update rollout, pre-releases of Windows 10 will roll out in this ring around a month before it's generally available to minimize unknown issues from reaching customers.

More on the May Update

Windows 10 May 2019 Update

Finally, the "Skip" ring (or Skip Ahead) is a type of Fast ring that allows users to jump ahead to the following version of Windows 10 before the current development is considered complete. Usually, the seats for this level are limited, the code can be very unstable, and you're likely not going to see any significant features.

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to join a computer in the Windows Insider Program to test upcoming features and changes for the platform with the settings available on the May 2019 Update. In addition, we'll outline the steps to manage the Insider settings as well as the steps to safely remove your device from the program.

Warning: This is a friendly reminder that during an upgrade things can always go wrong especially when installing a pre-release version of Windows 10. It's recommended to make a temporary full backup of your PC before proceeding.

How to opt-in to the Windows Insider Program

To enroll a desktop, laptop, or tablet to the Windows Insider Program, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & security.
  3. Click on Windows Insider Program.
  4. Click the Get started button.

  5. Click the Link an account button.

  6. Select your Microsoft account.
  7. Click the Continue button.
  8. Click the Register button (if applicable).

  9. Click the Sign Up button.

  10. Check the I've read and accept the terms of this agreement option.
  11. Click the Submit button.

  12. Click the Close button.
  13. Under the "Pick your Insider settings" section, select the channel that you want to use:

    • Slow: Delivers preview builds with the latest improvements and new features with minimal risks of coming across bugs and significant problems.
    • Fast: Provides previews with the most up-to-date features and changes, but using this level means more unstable builds, and it's likely that you'll see errors, bugs, and problems with features.
    • Release Preview: Offers the final version of the next version of Windows 10 as soon as it's considered ready. However, the builds in this level may still contain unknown issues, which usually are patch with quality updates before it becomes available to the public. In addition, this level also includes previews for upcoming updates, drivers, and apps.
    • Skip: Allow you access to skip ahead to the next version of Windows 10. Typically, you'll start getting rough and buggy previews as soon as Microsoft gets close to finalize a new feature update.
  14. Click the Confirm button.

  15. Click the Confirm button again to agree to the terms.

  16. Click the Restart Now button.

Once you complete the steps, your device will start downloading and installing builds from the Windows Insider Program as soon as they become available in the ring that you selected.

You can always check if there's a new preview available on Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update, and clicking the Check for Updates button to get the latest update immediately. However, remember that it can take up to 24 hours before previews become available for your device.

How to manage settings in the Windows Insider Program

While enrolled in the Windows Insider Program, you can switch between levels to slow down or speed the cadence of new features and improvements, and you can even change the Microsoft account to another account as necessary.

Switch Insider preview rings

To change between Insider Preview rings, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & security.
  3. Click on Windows Insider Program.
  4. Under the "Pick your Insider settings" section, click your current level.

  5. Select a new ring:

    • Slow.
    • Fast.
    • Release Preview.
    • Skip.

  6. Click the back button on the top-left corner.
  7. Under the "Pick your Insider settings" section, should now display the new ring.

After you complete the steps, your computer will start receiving previews from the level that you selected.

Switch Insider preview account

To change your account information, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & security.
  3. Click on Windows Insider Program.
  4. Under the "Windows Insider account" section, click your current account.
  5. Click the Change button.

  6. Select or add a new account.
  7. Click the Continue button.

Once you complete the steps, your device will connect to the Windows Insider Program with the account you specified.

How to opt-out of the Windows Insider Program

To safely remove your device from the Windows Insider Program, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & security.
  3. Click on Windows Insider Program.
  4. Under the "Stop getting preview builds" section, turn on the toggle switch.

After you complete the steps, you'll continue to receive preview builds, but once the new version releases, it'll install automatically, and then your computer will gracefully opt-out of the program.

If you're already running a preview of Windows 10, and you want to go back to the latest stable version, you'll need to backup your data, and perform a clean installation of the newest version of Windows 10.

More Windows 10 resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources:

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