Why I basically stopped being a Windows Insider


When Microsoft announced the Windows Insider program I was super excited. I enjoy playing with beta software and giving feedback on what I think works and what needs more work. I use Windows all day at work and at home. At the time the Insider program launched I was a Windows Phone users and excited to see how Microsoft would improve their mobile platform and how they might build cross device experiences between Windows and Windows Phone.

Obviously today Windows Phone is gone and now Microsoft has hitched their wagon to Android. This strategy makes sense, but I use an iPhone so I’ve been watching the desktop and phone synergy from the sidelines. Now a big reason why I’d get and Android phone would be due to all of the Windows 10 integrations.

Even with activity around Your Phone it feels like the Windows Insider program is a shell of its former self. No major features, no serious redesigns, A/B testing everywhere, and most of the features which fill the blog posts these days are incredibly minor. For example: Optional Feature list Multi-select, Zooming on Snip & Sketch, Toast Notification icon on the toast, etc. These little improvements are important for users of Windows, but this isn’t my idea of the Windows Insider program.

Perhaps this is a transitional period for Windows. With leadership changing and shifting, new Edge being developed, a refocus on productivity and stability. I hope Microsoft keeps trying to improve how millions of people everyday use Windows for work and play. And if the Windows team gets the green light to build bigger features, maybe the insider program will become interesting again.

But for now there isn’t enough in the Windows Insider program keeping me interested to wade through all of the confusion and minutiae.

Does anyone else feel the same? Will the excitement every return or is it a slow march toward the sunset?

Comments (11)

11 responses to “Why I basically stopped being a Windows Insider”

  1. Paul Thurrott

    Obviously, I feel the same.

    The Insider Program used to be about engineering and testing new versions of Windows. Today, it is just (poorly communicated) marketing fluff. It's sad, like much of what's happening at Windows.

  2. jules_wombat

    Surely you must understand that Microsoft, like many others, is moving to cloud centric platform. Windows is legacy and is no longer a priority. The future of computing and innovation is in the cloud. Time to smell the roses and accept that Microsoft will not be investing any innovation on a heavyweight bloated and dated platform.

    • TheJoeFin

      In reply to Jules_Wombat:

      The fact that Microsoft is focusing its attention to the cloud could also be a reason why Windows gets more interesting for someone like me. For example, if the Windows shell was open sourced I would be very excited to go through the code and probably make changes and adjustments on my own fork.

      Just because the business side of Microsoft is laser focused on the cloud doesn't stop their older products from doing interesting or exciting things for their fans.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to Jules_Wombat:

      IOW, Ken Olsen was right, modulo a 3 decade interval, that people don't need computers in their homes. Just terminals.

      I know what Chrome OS devices can do with Citrix Receiver and remote application servers. With a network connection, there's little need for local computing power. There will always be some people who need disconnected computing, but they don't number in the billions, maybe not even in the hundreds of millions.

  3. dougkinzinger

    Yes I too feel the same. And I've had dinner with the Windows Insider team (Dona too), but Windows isn't the focus of Microsoft any longer. However, I think - just maybe - the new LiteOS may be the eventual replacement of Windows, so we'll see if that ever turns into anything.

    • madthinus

      In reply to dougkinzinger:

      By contrast, neither is MacOS a focus for Apple, yet it has not stopped them from refining and polishing the product. This to me is a sharp contrast to Microsoft. Windows has a billion users, yet is is treated like a naughty step child by an evil step mom!

  4. hrlngrv

    For me it's been a learning opportunity. Given all the settings each new Insider Build resets, I've learned a lot about scripting configuration changes. And I've learned what's really annoying about Windows version upgrades compared to Linux distribution upgrades, e.g., Windows's insistence on changing various things under HKCU, such as the desktop theme, actually some things but not others. I'm more understanding about changing settings under HKLM.

    FWIW, I get a lot more out of the Office Insider program than the Windows Insider program.

  5. bill_russell

    "I hope Microsoft keeps trying to improve how millions of people everyday use Windows for work and play."

    I hope they finally start to just focus on the "for work" and dump the distraction of "for play", which is proven futile for almost a decade now.

    The smartphone has turned out to be the ideal consumer device for play, mostly social oriented internet uses, due to its ultra portability. Hence the "wait - don't you like what you see here? - the PC can be a fun mobile device too - we have candy crush, lots of colorful squares and things updating constantly - please, buy windows! But at the expense of serious computer users, who can't stand all that.

    • Greg Green

      In reply to Bill_Russell:

      I disagree in that many gamers want the same things from an os that businesses do. A lean os with few background tasks, interruptions or interference. Less is more. The os should be nearly invisible.

      • Tony Barrett

        In reply to Greg Green:

        Exactly what Win10 isn't - lean, lightweight, free from interruptions or interference. Because Win10 + Win10 Mobile were developed together, MS still seem to treat a desktop and mobile device are the same thing. So, yes, the OS should be nearly invisible but Win10 is just in your face all the time.

  6. aaaabbb

    I stopped being a Windows insider three years ago, it was pretty evident from the start in the end of 2014 that it was only a way for Microsoft to communicate some sort of relevance of Windows in the post-PC world and not about QA and i hold on for two years till i finally had enough.

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