When is the best time to leave the Windows Insider Program?

These days, knowing what build of Windows 10 is the "final" build that goes out to the public is becoming increasingly difficult, thanks to the nature of Windows as a Service (WaaS). As an Insider, you're likely familiar with this term, but if not here's a quick and simple explanation: WaaS means Microsoft no longer releases a new major version of Windows every 3 years. Instead, the company releases a new version of Windows 10 every half-year or year.

In short, with Windows 10 there aren't any final builds. Instead, a build is selected as "good enough" to be promoted to the "production ring" which is the ring the public get new builds from, outside the Insider Program. Build 14393 is that build for Redstone 1, and build 10586 was that for Threshold 2. Regardless of this, I continuously get asked when the best time to jump out of the Insider Program is, because cumulative updates and build revisions are always being released.

It has come to my attention that the cumulative updates are causing some confusion among Insiders as to which build is the "final" or "stable" build that they can safely jump off the Insider Program on, especially for Mobile. I thought it would be a good idea to quickly explain what cumulative updates are, and how they don't affect what build is considered "final".

When to leave the Insider Program

When it comes to Redstone 1 (Anniversary Update), build 14393 is considered the final build. This is the build that the public receive via Windows Update and so on. Specifically, build 14393.0 is the build that is considered final. However, there are cumulative updates that are released after this that are applied to this build, which as a result increases it's minor revision every time. For example, a recent cumulative update released for the Anniversary Update brought the build number up to 14393.91. The .91 part is the builds revision. Does this mean 14393.91 is the final build now? No.

Build 14393 is still the final build, regardless of what cumulative updates are applied to it. This applies to Mobile too. Once you're on build 14393, you can jump off the Insider Program whenever you like, whether you're running build 14393.0 or 14393.52. It doesn't matter, as you're running the main final build that Microsoft is now servicing to the public.

This is the same for Mobile. If you're on the Release Preview ring waiting to jump to the production ring once Microsoft releases the "final" build, you're waiting for something that has already passed by. 14393, regardless of the .xx revision that comes after it, is the final build.

Admittedly, Microsoft isn't immediately clear when they release a final build to insiders for testing, likely because they don't even know themselves if the build insiders are testing will be promoted to the production ring. Here's an easy way of telling if a build is good enough to jump onto the production ring; If a build is promoted to the Release Preview ring, you're good to leave the Insider Program and begin running that build as your main driver.

This is what happened with build 14393. It was the first full build to ever be pushed to that ring, and low and behold, that build is now in the production ring, being served by Microsoft to millions of Windows 10 users outside the Insider Program.

When to not leave the Insider Program

If you're running a build that's in the fast or slow rings, it is highly recommended that you do not leave the insider program unless you're planning to wipe your device and manually reinstall a production build. Builds in the fast and slow rings are usually not ready for prime time, only builds in the Release Preview ring are safe to leave the Insider Program on.

So there you have it, Insiders who are looking to drop out of the Insider Program can do so on build 14393, regardless of what build revision is currently applied. You will be supported and serviced by Microsoft regardless. Happy days.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • When Microsoft officially abandons windows 10 mobile, Till then, No leaving Insider ☺
  • Same here
  • Never eveeerrrrrr leaving Insider program.
  • No Insider left behind. Seriously, what will we do if MS throws in the towel? I have been with MS forever.
  • To answer the question in the title"When is the best time to leave the Windows Insider Program?" I would think the answer has to be "When I feel the time is right to leave"
  • With insider program, microsoft has ensured around 8 millions windows 10 mobile permanent customers.
  • Love towards anything is good, but hate doesnt help anyone, anyway. Please go and show love to your fruit brand in their fanboys site. Try to focus on positive, will help you in long time.
  • Are you guys masochists, or what?
  • when you switch to Android / iOS otherwise never. Every new build is OK for 2/3 weeks after this period some bugs begin to appear again and again
  • That's not true. What phone do you have?
  • 950xl but HP x3 in 1 month so I dont care anymore :)))
  • Are you jumping back on the insider?
  • If he's smart, he won't. The insider program is good on non-production devices. Unless he keeps his 950xl to test stuff on it would be dumb to be on the insider program on his new phone. I'm on 'release candidate' at the moment just so I could get the 14393.103 cumulative update but I'll never go slow/fast ring on my PC, Surface or Phone again. I have it on a virtual machine now just to play with the new settings, features etc when they release new builds. I'll still provide feedback but it won't be as useful to them when I had everything running it. 
  • Same here. Have my pre ordered.
  • that's the point of leaving the insider program, public ring (is supposed to) get only stable releases. I don't even understand why people rush to be an alpha or beta tester by joining the insider program. What's the point of constently updating your system, with possible new problems every time?
  • When you realize that you have been doing free labor of testing for microshaft, who abandoned your device after stringing you along saying that you will be upgraded. When you realize that 10 is at best a sidegrade to 8. When you see all Windows phones hidden in the back at the microshaft store. When you have been screwed over for upgrades from 6.5->7.0, 7.5->8.0, 8.0->8.1, 8.1->10. Then it is time to leave, and stop providing free labor for the company in lieu of laid off employees.
  • Buyers remorse eh lol Posted via the Windows Central App for Android (LG V10 or Nexus 5x)
  • Forgive him, his whole account and posts are just laments on Microsoft. Troll level is high.
  • LG Fathom, HTC Trophy, Lumia 521, Lumia 928 owner. Enjoyed all of them, Lumia 928 most of all, but obviously did not enjoy not being supported for OS reboots, and being thrown out of the upgrade loop again for the 928 (which was sold to 2015 on Verizon - isn't it a bit early to be thrown out?). Which is why I simply would not recommend being a beta-tester for Microsoft, considering their retrenching and phasing out of the Lumia line alltogether.
  • IT is too bad, you are having these issues, but nothing says you have to do the insider program.
  • You could install W10M TH2 "officially" on the L928 and you can also make just a few small registry modifications to install RS1. You're phone isn't unsupported, you are lazy.
  • Cryio, it's not "small". The risk of bricking your phone is there. Plus, tricking the OS into thinking your phone is a different type can run into performance issues. That's not a proper not official. Unless you know of a better way, I'd be happy to see what it is?    
  • Officially? Or "Officially"? Send me a link to the official update for the 928 from Verizon, and I will gladly delete the comment. I didn't know I had to make registry edits, pretend like my phone is a 950/icon, and not have a firmware update. If that is what official support is, then the situation is far worse.
  • Ban him. Isn't that what you do best? No notice anymore, just gone.
  • Certainly not free labour for me! I was sent a 950xl (hardware for insiders) to continue testing and expect to keep it too
  • True, but I also have a 950 running official release (bought myself) and can't says its that bad! The os has definitely got over the worst. I remember when i was beta testing on a 1020!
  • How many devises' are getting android nougat again ? Hardware gets old, u make it sound as if only Microsoft does this...
  • I know right glad there's XDA. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android (LG V10 or Nexus 5x)
  • But most of the old android phones can still install the latest apps...
    I'm not complaining. Just pointing out the fact.
  • W10M TH2 was available for 95% of Windows Phones out there. It's up to devs to target a lower OS version than RS1 and then everyone will have access to it.
  • No, only for "preview".
  • Muzi, but Android N is not a reboot. Apps still support it. Most (if not all) apps actually still work on jelly bean. Microsoft abandoned its mobile users for 7. But more so 8, after promising ALL phones could upgrade they went back on their word. Nokia Lumia, you hit the nail on the head here.
  • That is the key - it feels like I have been a beta tester and have been abandoned more than once, thus what is wrong with me not recommending to be a beta tester?
  • 7.5/7.8 apps don't work on 6.5, 8.0 apps don't work on 7.5/7.8, some 8.1 apps don't work on 8.0, 10 UWP or 10 Mobile apps don't work on 8.1 - don't you see all of the OS reboots?
  • Nokia lumia. That's why I left the platform. I love it and supported it through 7 then got screwed for the 8 update. But you know, I like MS and they sold me with 8 uwp. I thought Great Vision and they said apps would come through. I got a 920 then thought good days ahead. In about 2013 the road map ahead looked great, they weren't popular, but you saw lumias everywhere.  In fact in my country, WP was higher than iOS market share (now it's less than half of iOS). After there change in strategy shift and royally f******g me over again, I just could not take it anymore. Anyways, on this topic, MS is using you as free labor no matter how nicely they sell it. But ultimately it's your choice, they don't force you to take it. Each to their own
  • Nokia lumia, you could run into the record of the most down votes ever on this site. But sad thing is, you right. I guess people have goggles on this site when it comes to MS
  • I saw it as getting access to new features and fixes before the majority of the public.  Hope you know that you don't have to enroll in the program.
  • Beyond a troll at this point.
  • Can't see that happening as win 10 is there new OS and its just gonna be added onto from now on that means no windows 11 just additions to win 10 pc and mobile devices. So your gonna have a long wait.
  • I dont know how this article helps. In my view , I was looking for , """"to be always ahead and stable ,choose "release preview" else go for production i.e. No insider. """" Anyways (y) P.S. To be on edge either fast/slow :)
  • This article isn't for you.
  • Thank you for the insight , will take care in future :)
  • I just left the Insider program, having been in the release preview ring. I don't really dare to go slow or fast insider anymore, as that bricked my Lumia 950 XL (PCB had to be changed! And no, WDRT didn't help).
  • I'm considering joining it again to get on the Release Preview in hopes that I will hop on the build that will bring back the vibration/silent ringer back to the Glance screen. I'll wait though.
  • I stopped right after the final release of the Original Windows 10.  I enjoyed testing Windows 10, but I saw no reason, and still do not, to continue testing a buggy OS that no longer has many "game changing" differences.
  • Without any trolling, completely agree.
  • I stopped when Redstone 2 released and will rejoin after they've put in a couple updates.
  • I'm not going to leave it my build is 14905.1000 on a lumia 640 and no problem at all so far
  • I think the only time I'd go with Insider on a daily driver is when I am needing one of the new features, or am running into a particulary gnarly bug on the slow ring builds...  I wish we had Insider on Android... It is truly a great option to have and a differentiating feature of W10M (W104M?)
  • I'm using release preview ring and i cant leave the windows insider
  • Since updating to build 14905 my l950xl sucks. Voice call and text services don't work at all. How the hell can I get off this build?
  • Reset ur phone I always do that with every new build and got no problem
  • You have to go back to production using WDRT.
  • WDRT to 10586. Then update to 14343
  • Same same. Reflash using the WDRT and get DTTW too. Worth it to start again.
  • Windows Device Recovery Tool or factory reset? That type of bug would last 1 hour if that, then the device would be plugged into a PC to run WDRT and eventually update the OS to Release preview.
  • wait till tommorrow release
  • Why would you join the insider program, if you do not know how to recover your phone.  
  • Maybe new to the play.
  • Release preview for me and even that is not 100%. Fast and slow currently are too buggy. I've stepped off for now because using buggy builds on your daily driver makes you start hating the platform. Don't want that.
  • This comment should be upvoted. I want to enjoy using my phone not hate every single second of it.
  • As soon as one wants MS to go back releasing quality software. Results speak for themselves.
  • I already left insider program... My all phones are now on official public builds... and I am happy with it, even though with occasional freezing/crashes and random restarts.  When I was on the Inside I noticed that how variable performance on each model and even on the same model. It must me difficult task for MS and it is important that many people continue to be on the Insider. Unfortunately, I can't continue to be the Insider as I am using my phones as daily use. I think MS doing their part for OS very slowly but efficiently. Now developers should be supported and that I do by purchasing their apps or donating. Also, I provide full detail feedback/review to the developers if their app has any potential for improvements or enhancements.  Best luck to all who continues to be the Insiders!
  • Me too. Left with 393.67 build as latest
  • "I already left insider program... My all phones are now on official public builds... and I am happy with it, even though with occasional freezing/crashes and random restarts. " These statements ALWAYS crack me up.   Why should you be happy with that.   That means the overall user experience is crappy....if your device freezes, crashes,  or restarts randomly,  there is something NOT RIGHT.....My phone was doing that when I moved to 10.   I sold it.  My surface 3s were doing that when I moved to 10,  guess what I sold them!  Thats not great user expereince,  or acceptable IMO.  I was busy writing a travel blog post....restart.....lost half my work.  I then sold the w10 deveices and have been happy ever since.  No freezeup, no random restart,  no crashing!  GREAT!
  • Microsoft even prevents you from leaving the insider program when you are not on a final build anyway.
  • They need all the testers they can get,  since they fired all of their in house developement team.
  • Slow ring for me from now on. Been on the fast till AU, lumia 950.
  • As of now release preview build is lot stable than production build.
  • how do i know wich version i have. My Lumia 550 says Core Build ID 1320.104 (01078.00037.16082.41000)?? Also i have a 640xl, will it work like the 550 if i install the preview?
  • Settings>about>more info>
  • I was release preview insider but i leave the insider program and now on production ring. I use Windows 10 mobile version 10586.545 on Lumia520. At the same time Microsoft has removed Lumia 520 from Windows insider program. Now what should I do?? I have to roll back to Windows phone 8.1?? or I can use current version of windows 10? Is there any problem occurs if i use current version?
  • No. You're grandfathered in. However, if you ever have to use the WDRT, you will get 8.1, and no longer will be able to get 10.
  • I only left the the fast ring after official AU. I'm still in the program, but in the release preview ring :D It can't hurt my phone, even though it's my main and only one :D
  • When leaving the insider program (14393.103 release preview) in my case, would that automatically put me in the production ring? I don't see it as an option to select.
  • Simply leaving the program places you in the "production ring". No need to manually select it.
  • Thank you Zac. Your article was very helpful and perfect timing too. I was searching just yesterday for this info.
  • It's "lo and behold", not "low and behold". Sorry, I'm a teacher.
  • The simple answer is when Release Preview is an option in the ring list and you are happy with the build you are on, or more simply, when you are happy with the build you are on.
  • When your on build 4393
  • Would never leave insider. But I find that in each and every build, threshold or Redstone, the battery drains very fast while using mobile data. It is very annoying.
  • I wonder if the same is true using wifi?
  • My sister owns a 1320 and now wishes to upgrade to W10. Unsupported devices won't get the anniversary update but would she get the threshold update from insider ring somehow? I highly doubt. But just asking.
  • Not any more. There may be a way to hack it to make it think it's a 1520. But short of that? I don't think so. I tricked my 1020 into a 950xl to get RS2.
  • 14905.1000 Who has bigger? ;)
  • For a minute there I thought the title read "when to abandon WP." I was gonna say next month when the new iPhone comes out.
  • Even, I have a question... What is the right time to leave windows phone? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I'm getting iphone7 in lieu of my 950xl next month. I'm sick, annoyed and tired of this underwhelming underperforming Win10 Mobile OS. Just one app I need to stay. I am a big fan of the Adguard ad blocker and was disappointed of no support or even a hint that something is being developed. Anyway, my patience has run out I suppose. I wonder if Nutella is interested if I give my phone to him for free.
  • Probably not,  he's in line right now to be the first to own the iphone 7.  ha ha.  Enjoy a real phone agrum,  I have been LOVING mine since ditching windows 10.
  • I love Windows 10 mobile! It actually makes me think HOW ON EARTH IS THIS NOT MORE POPULAR!! Windows 10 mobile will grow, I guarantee you it will take time but it will grow.
  • That is what was said about windows mobile 6, windows phone 7, windows phone 8......taking time is what Microsoft is all about.   Remember ......coming soon™!
  • Yep, wait.... and you will be waiting and waiting... Just because it's a good OS, does not mean Microsoft is going to market it and with out any marketing, they wont get a lot of marketshare. I was just like you for years....then I saw the light...
  • It's been awhile since the last new RS2 beta build release.
  • I'm pretty much done with Windows Phone, I need apps for WORK, and Windows Phone has NONE of them and I have a Pebble Time, that no native or OEM support. I keep my ICON in the Preview program just to see what Microsoft is doing on the fast build... Wish Microsoft would get their crap together, love the OS but, Microsoft knows how to screw up a great proudct.
  • Great article, Zac. I had a feeling this was how it was, but this confirmed it :) Also, yay for finally confirming that those .xx doesn't matter :D!
  • You guys are funny. These are not "builds", they're bugfixes. Version after version after version, bugfixes. Where have all these bugs come from, can't they code or what? The latest "build" is all about "what's fixed:", no new features. One step forward two steps back. Come think of it, they're "buggies and what new is crippled". This is all oh so very sad indeed. It's been what, a year now, since they promised us a stable OS. Just exactly where is that ShangriLa? Instead of coming up with new excuses for MS, start criticizing them for doing one grand piss-weak job. This is embarrassing ti say the least.
  • Windows phone fanboy. Disappointed to know that hardly any store sells windows phone at my place. Roamed around for couple hours to find stores that sells Windows phones but could find only stores that had last pieces on discount. I actually went out to buy a Lumia 640XL LTE today but came back empty handed.