Almost two months after it issued the first Windows 10 Technical Preview 2 build, Microsoft today has announced that it will finally deliver its first update. The new build comes after the software giant had promised to be deliver updates more quickly, a pledge it reiterated this week. But this time it has a plan.
Windows 10 build 10041 is a few iterations higher than the build 10036 that leaked last week and it’s apparently a lot more stable as well. Microsoft’s Gabe Aul told me earlier today that he was “super confident” this build was stabilized. “Nothing will stop this from happening today,” he said.
Coming as it is in the middle of Windows Weekly recording today, I won’t be able to grab the new build until after the show. There’s a lot of feedback-based changes in it, as you’d expect, but nothing surprising that wasn’t hinted at by the recent leak. But I’ll have a write-up about the build later. For now, let’s focus on what the holdup has been for the past two months and how Microsoft will address the slowness issues going forward.
“Last week, as we continued to ship builds [internally], we started making changes to the way we about and productize the flighting process,” Mr. Aul told me. “This is a big change.”
Originally, the build process was sequential, where Microsoft would flight builds to its Fast Ring internally and then use a set of ring promotion criteria in its Mission Control tool to promote them in turn to other rings like Slow Ring (internal), Microsoft Self-Hosters, and then to the Windows Insider Fast and Slow Rings.
But this proved too slow. Sometimes a build would make it through a few rings internally but then a bug or other blocker would be found and it would be kicked out, causing the whole process to start over again from scratch. So Microsoft broke it up. Now, the rings are not concentric anymore, and Aul and his team can flight builds to two different rings—like Fast Ring (internal) and Fast Ring (Windows Insider; public) at the same time.
“This lets us evaluate builds for multiple audiences simultaneously,” Aul told me. “And will get builds to Windows Insiders more quickly. It lets us parallelize the process.”
Going forward, Aul says that his team will deliver 1-2 new builds to Windows Insiders each month—”at least one per month.” There won’t be a regular schedule per se because of another internal process by which individual product groups can request that certain days be blacked out so that they can bring in new features that are not ready for primetime and not worry about the quality impacting the flighting process.
“We give this leeway to the teams,” Aul explained, “and in the past this also slowed down our progress depending on how things lined up with these blackout windows and the overall build quality.”
I can’t wait to test the new build. And I suspect you can’t either. But then, the wait is finally over, and the Windows 10 Technical Preview is marching forward again. That alone is a success to be celebrated.