Microsoft this week announced that Insiders can now choose to “skip ahead” to testing the next version of Windows 10 after the Fall Creators Update.
Annoyingly, this announcement was made via the Feedback Hub, an app inside Windows 10, and not publicly, and transparently, on the web where everyone can see it.
“We are now at the stage in the development cycle for the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update where we’re working hard to bash all the bugs and stabilize so it’s the best Windows 10 release yet for all our customers,” the announcement notes. “As we work to prepare the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update for the world, our engineering teams are beginning work on the next release of Windows 10 from our Development Branch.”
The language is a bit confusing, since the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update—which is really called Windows 10 version 1709—is, in fact, “the next release of Windows 10.” But that “Development Branch” bit is the important part: This means that the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is, in effect, feature complete and is now in the final stages of development. As such, it is being moved into its own branch, or fork, which Microsoft is naming “RS3_RELEASE” to differentiate it from other release branches like Current Branch (which is on the Creators Update, or version 1703).
Insiders who wish to move on to the next-next version of Windows 10—or what’s codenamed “Redstone 4,” as opposed to the “Redstone 3” codename for the Fall Creators Update—can now visit Settings > Update & Security > Windows Insider Program and change the setting under “What kind of content would you like to receive?” from “Active development of Windows” to “Skip ahead to the next Windows release.”
However, you should understand the ramifications of this change before doing so.
At some point, the RS3_RELEASE branch will become the shipping version of Windows, and there will be a short moment in time, a window, where you can un-enroll that PC from the Insider Program all together and just use Windows normally. And as Microsoft explains in the Feedback Hub post, at that point, those PCs that have switched to the Development Branch (or, to Redstone 4) testing will not be able to switch back to RS3_RELEASE.
In other words, you’re beta testing software here, so be smart, and pay attention. And make sure you know what you’re doing.
Finally, Microsoft is going to limit the number of PCs it will allow in the Development Branch during this transition.
“We need to have Windows Insiders in the Fast ring helping us get the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update ready and giving us feedback on issues they are experiencing,” the post explains. “So there will be a limit as to how many Windows Insiders can skip ahead. Once that limit is met, the UI on the flight settings page will notify Windows Insiders trying to choose to skip ahead that it’s been closed.”
It looks like the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is basically complete.