Windows 11: Insider Program gets even earlier Canary Channel


Microsoft is reorganizing the Windows Insider Program and is now dividing it into four channels with a new Canary Channel, which makes early releases available from the previous Dev Channel for users who are keen to experiment. The Dev Channel, which will also be used to roll out new features, will therefore also be reorganized.

In the new Canary Channel, Microsoft wants to offer platform changes that require a longer introductory period before they can be distributed to regular users. The company cites changes to the kernel, new APIs and similar more in-depth areas of the operating system as examples. The Canary Channel is thus set up in a similar way to the previous Dev Channel, in which new features were tried out that may never be delivered to end users. From now on, this also applies to the new Canary Channel.

Canary Channel for Builds 25000+

Builds from the Canary Channel will have a higher build number than releases in the Dev, Beta and Release Preview Channels, according to Microsoft. The releases with build numbers 25000 make the start, most recently build 25309 with individual audio control per app in the Windows quick settings.

Dev Channel Insiders will be switched

Insiders from the previous Dev Channel are already receiving these releases and are now being switched to the new Canary Channel by Microsoft. Corresponding insiders should receive a notification about the change in the operating system and by e-mail and also be provided with instructions on how to change the channel with a fresh installation. The change also applies to users whose systems are managed by IT administrators via Windows Update for Business, Microsoft Intune or group policies. A new policy for the opt-in to the Canary Channel will be created for the latter users in the future.

Microsoft warns that brand new builds with little verification and documentation are released in the Canary Channel, which can have potentially serious problems and prevent the PC from working properly or even require a reinstallation of the operating system. Although no daily builds are to be distributed in the Canary Channel, Microsoft wants to increase the pace in the future. This in turn means that a blog post cannot be expected for every release.

The now four channels for Windows Insiders (image: Microsoft)

New Dev Channel with builds 23000+

From now on, releases with the build number 23000 and up will be distributed in the new Dev Channel. In this channel, Microsoft wants to try new ideas, features and “experiences” that are not tied to a specific later release of the operating system. As with the Canary Channel, some changes will potentially never make it into a final release, while others will. The new Dev Channel will be provided with more stable releases than the Canary Channel overall. Microsoft now recommends the Dev Channel for Beta Channel users who want to try out newer features.

Cannot downgrade to a lower build

There are also hints for changers: Basically, insiders cannot switch from a higher to a lower build number when changing the channel. In this case, technical requirements force the user to reinstall the operating system. Users who are now automatically switched from the previous Dev Channel to the new Canary Channel, but would rather switch back to the Dev Channel, must perform a new installation.

Beta and Release Preview Channel unchanged

There are no changes to the Beta and Release Preview Channel. The Beta Channel is intended for “early adopters” who want to try out more stable Windows 11 releases compared to the Dev Channel, which have also been validated by Microsoft. In the Release Preview Channel there is a preview of new features and bug fixes as well as the possibility to get the next final version of Windows 11 in advance. Microsoft can only recommend this channel to commercial users.