This post was updated at 12:00pm on June 22nd.
Over the weekend we saw a few articles about this post and confusion that it caused. I’m sorry for that and want to take a moment to clear up a few things. This is a very complex topic, since we’re managing:
- Multiple versions of Windows
- A new approach to how we are building and delivering Windows
- And a new preview program that is different than what we’ve done in the past.
Let me start by restating very clearly that Windows 10, whether you get it on 7/29 or whether you got it in a preview form through the Windows Insider Program is intended to be installed on Genuine Windows devices.
Friday’s post was intended to clarify how the Windows Insider Program will proceed, and in attempting to do so created some unintended confusion. I sincerely apologize for that and will try to separate them more clearly below in order to provide more clarity.
The crux of it is this:
- Do you want to continue as a Windows Insider and keep getting preview builds after 7/29?
- Or do you want to upgrade your Genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 system that has been getting Windows 10 Insider Preview builds to the 7/29 release and stop being an Insider?
“I want to continue as a Windows Insider!” If you want to continue as a Windows Insider past 7/29 there is nothing you need to do. You’re already opted in and receiving builds in the Fast or Slow ring depending upon your selection. This is prerelease software and is activated with a prerelease key. Each individual build will expire after a time, but you’ll continue to receive new builds so by the time an older prerelease build expires you’ll have received a new one. Since we’re continuing the Windows Insider Program you’ll be able to continue receiving builds and those builds will continue to be activated under the terms of the Windows Insider Program. We provide ISOs for these builds for recovery from any significant problems, but they are still pre-release software. As part of the program we’ll upgrade Insiders to what is for all intents and purposes the same build as what other customers will get on 7/29, but that will be just another build for Insiders, and those who stay in the program will simply get the next build after as well.
“I want to opt out of the Windows Insider Program on 7/29.” If you decide to opt-out of the program and upgrade to the 7/29 build you will be subject to exactly the same terms and conditions that govern the offer* that was extended to all Genuine Windows 7 and 8.1 customers. This is not a path to attain a license for Windows XP or Windows Vista systems. If your system upgraded from a Genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 license it will remain activated, but if not, you will be required to roll back to your previous OS version or acquire a new Windows 10 license. If you do not roll back or acquire a new license the build will eventually expire.
It is our hope that the vast majority of Windows Insiders who have been with us since we announced the program last year will continue forward, and it was in that light that we authored the blog post about upcoming changes to the program. I regret that this caused confusion about who was or was not eligible for the Windows 10 upgrade offer, but hope that this helps to clarify.
Below is the original blog post which was updated at 1:00pm on June 20th.
Hi everyone, we’re hard at work on the next builds that we’ll send out to you for PC and Mobile. I don’t have an update on timing for that quite yet, but I do have some important changes to tell you about that are coming with the next PC build as we get ready for July 29th.
Microsoft Account notifications
If you don’t have your Microsoft Account (MSA) connected to your PC, starting in the next build you’ll start seeing notifications asking you to do so. 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. If you already have your MSA connected to your account on your PC, then you’re all set. We’re introducing new infrastructure in Windows Update to help us deliver new builds more effectively to Windows Insiders, and ensure that we’re flighting builds to people who have registered and opted in to the program. Connecting your MSA also allows seamless access to Windows Insider-only functionality in the Windows Feedback app and Insider Hub too.
This change is for the Windows Insider Program ONLY, and is specific to how we’re delivering the Insider Preview builds. Once available on July 29th, you do not need an MSA to upgrade Windows 10 on your Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 PCs if they are not receiving Insider Preview builds. You will not be required to use an MSA on new PCs that come with Windows 10 preinstalled or clean installed from media. Some features in Windows 10 do require an MSA to use, such as downloading apps in the Windows Store.
Getting the final release on July 29th
Windows Insiders running the Windows 10 Insider Preview (Home and Pro editions) with their registered MSA connected to their PC will receive the final release build of Windows 10 starting on July 29th. This will come as just another flight. I’ve gotten a lot of questions from Windows Insiders about how this will work if they clean installed from ISO. As long as you are running an Insider Preview build and connected with the MSA you used to register, you will receive the Windows 10 final release build. Once you have successfully installed this build, you will also be able to clean install on that PC from final media if you want to start over fresh. It’s important to note that only people running Genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 can upgrade to Windows 10 as part of the free upgrade offer.*
If you are running the Enterprise edition of the Windows 10 Insider Preview, to upgrade to the final release of Windows 10 Enterprise you will need to download and activate it from Volume Licensing Service Center. As a reminder, the Enterprise edition of the Windows 10 Insider Preview is not eligible for the free upgrade offer and can be upgraded to the final release of Windows 10 through an active Software Assurance agreement.
Stay with us as a Windows Insider
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.
Insider Hub & 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.
You will have to go through this process with each build we flight prior to the final release on July 29th, but once we start flighting new builds after July 29th it will be preinstalled again.
The Windows Feedback app will continue to be included in builds and in the final release. But as I noted above, the Windows Feedback app will have functionality specific to Windows Insiders who are registered for the program with their MSA connected to their PC.
One more thing – Here comes Microsoft Edge!
In the next build we release to Windows Insiders in the Fast ring, the “Project Spartan” name will officially change to Microsoft Edge. 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 back up 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.
We expect to have new Insider Preview builds for you soon and think you’ll be excited about the continuing progress we’re making on Windows 10. We couldn’t have done it without you.
*More information about the free upgrade offer can be found at Windows.com.