Tip: It’s Magic Window Time Again

Posted on March 25, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 13 Comments

As many readers know, you can opt out of the Windows Insider program when development of the new version winds down. I call this time period—which usually just lasts for a few weeks—the “magic window.” And I believe we’re at that time right now, with Windows 10 19H1/1903 development being essentially complete.

For those unfamiliar with the situation, it goes something like this: Insiders can enroll one or more PCs into the Windows Insider program. When they do so, they choose which “ring” they wish to test; this includes Fast, Slow, and Release Preview rings, plus a special Skip Ahead choice which isn’t technically a ring, but should be.

Fast and Slow ring both focus on the next version of Windows 10, which right now is Windows 10 version 19H1/1903. Release Preview focuses on coming app, driver, and quality update releases for the current version of Windows 10, which right now is 1809. And Skip Ahead typically focuses on two versions ahead, so 19H2/1909. (Right now, that’s not the case, but that’s an exception.)

The magic window period most likely applies to any Insider ring, but it’s most important for those on the Fast and Slow rings, because you can un-enroll your PC from the Insider Program during this time period and do so without any negative effects. When 19H1 is publicly released, that PC will simply continue forward on the normal retail support path, so you’ll get whatever updates everyone gets.

(If you un-enroll the PC from the Insider Preview outside of the magic window, it will be stuck in time. You can’t go back to the retail, shipping version of Windows 10. And you will stop getting quality and other updates … until that version of Windows 10 ships publicly. So the magic window is a like a “get out of jail free” card. Except that you’re getting your PC out of the Insider program.


If you wish to un-enroll a Windows 10 19H1-based PC from Insider Fast or Slow and latch back on to the normal retail (shipping) support schedule, here’s what you do.

1. Navigate to Settings (WINKEY +I) > Update & Security > Windows Insider Program.

2. Enable the option “Opt this device out of flighting when the next major release of Windows 10 is installed.”

3. Under “Windows Insider Account,” select your account and then select the Unlink button.

Reboot the PC. (You’re no longer prompted to do this.)

Now you can use your PC normally. You will receive whatever quality and cumulative updates that Microsoft delivers to this shipping version of Windows 10 going forward. When and if you wish to re-enroll in the Insider program to begin testing 19H2, you can do so just as easily from this same interface.

Now, just cross your fingers and hope that Microsoft doesn’t screw up and have to release a new “final” build of 19H1, like it did with the previous release. That’s always possible.

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Comments (13)

13 responses to “Tip: It’s Magic Window Time Again”

  1. Dan1986ist

    Also, I wonder when Microsoft will announce that 1903 is complete and ready and to do what Paul shows to stay on 1903, if 18362 is the build that'll ship as Version 1903. 1809's magic window, when it happened, didn't last long. Then there obviously question: will release preview insiders get to test the RTM of 1903 before everyone running 1809 gets the April 2019 Update to Windows 10 Version 1903?

  2. m_p_w_84

    I wonder why they assume people would understand what opting out of 'flighting' means

  3. matt11to5

    Why do you need to unlink your account after opting in?

  4. MattHewitt

    Based on the fact that people are receiving errors while installing the build, I'd say it doesn't bode well for this being the final version. The Insiders Program updated the original blog post a bit to reflect this.


    • Dan1986ist

      In reply to MattHewitt:

      Microsoft updated the blog post you've linked with a update regarding the slow ring update install issues which they say: "Over the last couple of weeks, Insiders in the Slow ring have been receiving new 19H1 builds in addition to also receiving Cumulative Updates. After flighting Build 18362 to the Slow ring on Friday, Insiders began reporting they were unable to complete the update. We have discovered an issue with the Build 18356.16 (KB4494123) Cumulative Update that was preventing the update to Build 18362 from completing successfully. This issue only impacts Insiders who are on Build 18356.16 who try to update to Build 18362. THANK YOU to Insiders who reported feedback on this in Feedback Hub and upvoted – your feedback was immensely valuable in helping investigate this issue over the weekend! The team is currently working on a fix now. In the meantime, Build 18362 will no longer be offered to Insiders who are on Build 18356.16, so Insider PCs don’t continue to try and take Build 18362 and fail. We will post another update once we release the fix and resume the Build 18362 flight. Thank you!"

  5. RobCannon

    Getting the update on error on two different computers in the slow ring. This is not the magic build!

  6. ChristopherCollins

    Should we opt out now or stay in the bug fixes branch. I'd imagine another update is coming (in the past, there was at least a cumulative after RTM).

    Will it still update if you opt all the way out of the program?

  7. JC

    New Build 18865 now out in fast ring...

  8. windows10insider

    I'm on 1903, build 18362. Will this roll back to 1809?

  9. kylejwx

    Hello, I've heard about this "magic window" several times on Windows Weekly. As I was digging around in gpedit, I found what seems to be a foolproof way to make sure that you don't miss the magic window.

    "Selecting "Disable preview builds once next release is public" will prevent preview builds from installing once the next Windows release is public. This option is useful when your device is set up to install preview and you want to gracefully opt out the device for flighting. This option will provide preview builds until devices reaches the next public release."

    This is found under Local Group Policy Editor > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Windows Update for Business > Manage preview builds

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