Windows Insiders Get a Feature Experience Pack in the Beta Channel

Posted on January 26, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 15 Comments

The Windows Insider Program still isn’t attaching any of its release channels to a specific Windows 10 version. But at least we have a new Windows Feature Experience Pack to wonder about.

“Today, we are releasing Windows Feature Experience Pack 120.2212.2020.0 to Windows Insiders in the Beta Channel,” Microsoft announced today. “We are improving the reliability of screen snipping experience, especially with apps that access the clipboard often.”

As you may recall, Microsoft first discussed Windows Feature Experience Packs back in December, despite the fact that this language has appeared in at least the two most recent Windows 10 versions without any explanation. These packs are a new way for Microsoft to deliver new features and functional improvements to customers outside of major Windows 10 feature updates, which are really version upgrades.

In December, Microsoft said that it would test “only a limited number of features” through the Insider Program, and today’s release, a single improvement to a single feature, certainly bears out that claim. Actually, they removed a feature, too: You can no longer copy and paste a screen snip directly into a File Explorer folder because of a reported issue. Microsoft hopes to re-enable this capability soon.

Windows Feature Experience Packs tested via the Windows Insider Program will eventually “get folded into the already existing servicing process for Windows 10,” Microsoft says, which means that they will ship to the current, supported versions of Windows 10 through Windows Update.

Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Comments (15)

15 responses to “Windows Insiders Get a Feature Experience Pack in the Beta Channel”

  1. will

    I think they should have some more numbers...even some that version number.

  2. jrswarr

    In reply to SvenJ:

    40 tries to get just ONE thing right.... Given to combination and permutations of Windows features - To infinity and beyond!

  3. jack mcgann

    So just what 1 did they add?

  4. irfaanwahid

    I still feel Microsoft likes to over complicate things for no good reasons.

    They already got Windows Insiders thing going on, Dev/Beta and within that, they got even features which will be available to certain group of Dev Insiders.

    Now, Features pack.

    Look at MacOS, sharp focused on annual updates and in most cases they get it right, consistency, addition of features without all the hullabaloo of Feature pack etc..

    • dftf

      In reply to irfaanwahid:

      Yeah, Apple generally just offer a stable version of iOS and macOS, and then a beta for each.

      To be fair, Microsoft at one-time did have things relatively-simple: you had the stable-branch, which something like 97-98% of people would be on; then in the Insider Preview you had the "slow-ring" (beta, essentially) and "fast-ring" (alpha or daily, essentially).

      But now what you get in each ring can vary -- plus even inside the same ring you have this silly A/B stuff where people won't all get the same things.

      If I were Microsoft, I'd simply make it so for all the stock-apps (such as Mail, Calendar, News, Weather) users can install Beta versions from the Store, which then get installed alongside the stable version and can all be uninstalled; and then have a Beta channel (where users would be on the next version, so 21H1 at the time of writing) and an Alpha channel (where users would be two-versions ahead: so 21H2, as of now).

  5. mgm

    > We are improving the reliability of screen snipping experience, especially with apps that access the clipboard often.

    > Insiders will need to reboot to enable the above-mentioned improvement

    Simple updates like this should not need a reboot.

    • JerryH

      In reply to mgm:

      I agree that updates like this should not need a reboot.

      On Microsoft's side of things they probably figured they could do it without a reboot but would have to clear the clipboard and clipboard history of all content and decided that would be a problem for people. Or they would have to write new untested code to save off the clipboard, restart it, and re-hydrate it. I get why they didn't do that. But yeah, reboots for things this small seem ridiculous.

  6. justme

     “We are improving the reliability of screen snipping experience, especially with apps that access the clipboard often.”

    What am I missing? Was there was an issue with Snipping Tool? I guess I dont use all of its features enough...? Its simple and does what it says on the tin, which is what I need. Why overcomplicate matters? My only issue is that I dislike all the reminders/recommendations/brow beating to use Snip n Sketch instead.

    • wright_is

      In reply to JustMe:

      It puts the image in the clipboard. Maybe the screen image is put in the clipboard and then copied into the app? If another program regularly accesses the clipboard, it might be possible that it breaks the process?

      • justme

        In reply to wright_is:

        I see. Why? I take a screen capture and save it. I neither need or want it in the clipboard until its required. I respect that others might, but that just seems overly complicated. If I want it in the clipboard, why not right-click and copy the saved image? Very much a fan of keep it simple.

  7. dftf

    Here's an outlandish idea: why not just offer beta versions of the built-in apps, which users can choose to install alongside the stable versions via the Microsoft Store, and then anyone can test them? The Start Menu would show two separate entries, such as "Snip & Sketch" and "Snip & Sketch (beta)", for each app.

    You know, like the way Android does for certain apps that offer a beta program.

    Wasn't the whole-point of moving Windows components into the Store to allow for things like this?