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Should You Install Windows 11 Dev Channel Build Under Insider Peview?

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The first Insider Preview build for Windows 11 was just released a couple of days ago, and it has already gathered the attention of hundreds of thousands of tech enthusiasts who were waiting to get a taste of Windows 11. Ever since its reveal, we too have been working hard on covering every new feature and improvement that Windows 11 will bring with it.

We even covered how you could get your hands on the latest Insider Preview build in case you couldn’t sign up for the Windows Insider Program. You can find the ISO download guide here, the bootable USB installer creation guide here, and finally, the Windows 11 installation guide using USB here. Check our Dual Boot Windows 11 guide if you wish to run it side by side to Windows 10.

Whether you are planning to install the Dev Channel Insider build of Windows 11 or already got one, but are wondering what happens when the stable public release update arrives or the beta channel one, then we’ve got you covered.

Before we begin, let’s take a quick look at the various build channels Microsoft currently has and where does your build stand right now.

Related: How To Share on Windows 11: Share Files, Folder, Links, Drive, Photos and Videos Easily!

What are the different channels in the Windows Insider program?

Microsoft offers three build channels for Windows 11 via their Windows Insider program that are listed below:

Dev Channel (Fast Ring): This is where you can get the latest releases that Microsoft seeds to enthusiasts eager to try out bleeding-edge features and updates. Sometimes, Microsoft may also send work-in-progress builds to gather early feedback from users. Also, these builds are most likely to have workflow-breaking bugs. You’re on this channel.

Beta Channel (Slow Ring): here, things become much smoother than the dev channel as the builds from the Beta channel are released after much more thorough testing. These builds are geared more towards IT Professionals who may want to test these builds within their premises.

Release Preview Channel (Release Preview Ring): things get more fine-tuned on their way to this channel. Once these builds are cleared by testers and users to be reliable and bug-free, the next step is the public release, also called global or stable release.

Related: How To Dual Boot Windows 11 with Windows 10: Step-by-step guide

Why get the Windows 11 Dev Channel update?

Getting back to the topic, you’re probably wondering if the Dev channel isn’t so stable for daily use, why should you use it any further. Well, the answer is pretty straightforward. A few minutes ago, we mentioned that the Dev channel is first in line to get the latest features, a lot earlier than the rest of the channels.

This means you’ll get to try the most recent and best features ahead of everyone else. In return, all you need to do is share your feedback and related diagnostic data to Microsoft, which is extremely crucial to speed up the bug fixes and improve the reliability of Windows 11.

Dev channel also gets updates, bug fixes, and improvements much more frequently than the rest of the channels, think about a full-size Windows update about every 4-5 days.

If you’ve made it into the Dev channel, you’ll continue to receive regular updates in the Dev channel.

Amazing, right?

But what if you change your mind later on and want to get on another channel?

Can you leave the Dev channel to join the beta, release preview or public release?

Things get a little complicated here. Microsoft states that once a PC has enrolled in the Dev Channel, it can get out of it only by doing a clean install. This is because you cannot downgrade from a newer build version that the dev builds are to a previous build version (that other updates are, naturally).

You can install either the Beta Channel builds, the Release Preview builds, or take the longer route with a Windows 10 install and then switch to beta/release preview Insider builds.

How switching between beta and release previews work?

If you’re already enrolled in the Beta Channel or the Release Preview Channel, switching channels is as easy as clicking a button (or a couple of buttons in Windows Settings).

Here’s how you can change your channel in the Windows Insider program.

Open the Settings app (can press Windows + i keys) and then go to Update & Security > Windows Insider Program.

From here, you can select your desired channel and that’s it. You’ll receive an update sometime later which will complete your transition from one channel to a different channel.

What happens when Windows 11 public release is released?

If you’re still on the Dev channel when the stable update of Windows 11 drops, you’ll need to do a clean install of Windows 10 then take the regular upgrade path to Windows 11 to enjoy the stable release.

Unlike users on the Dev Channel, users on the Beta Channel and Release Preview Channel will get the option to switch to the stable release when they leave the Insider Preview Program.

Can I avoid a clean install when leaving or updating from Dev Channel?

Unfortunately no. Only the users on Beta Channel and Release Preview Channel can get away with getting on the stable release without doing a clean install.

As Microsoft has only released the first-ever Dev build of Windows 11 and the whole thing is fairly recent, we haven’t yet gotten to the point of having a Beta Channel build, or even a Release Preview Channel build as it’ll take quite some time.

So far from what we’ve heard, the Dev Channel build of Windows 11 is pretty stable for lightweight/casual work and you shouldn’t encounter any bugs. But given it’s still a Dev Channel build, we’d advise against running it for advanced workflows that rely on certain applications.

Let us know what are your thoughts on the current Windows 11 Insider Preview build that’s doing the rounds.


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