Microsoft Adds More Experience Packs to Windows 11

Go to the light, Carole Ann

Microsoft has finally acknowledged Web Experience Packs as part of a blog post explaining how the Windows Insider Program isn’t changing much at all in 2022.

“We have more people running preview builds of Windows 11 than we did Windows 10, and we are energized by all the feedback we’re seeing from Insiders and excited to use those insights to make Windows 11 even better for our customers,” Insider lead Langowski writes in the announcement post. “To accomplish this, we have been evolving the way we develop and release to Insiders with more emphasis on trying out different concepts with our features and services.”

Not much is changing.

As before, the Windows Insider Program will use the Dev channel to test features that may or may not appear in a future version of Windows 11. And as before, it will continue using the dreaded A/B testing to bifurcate the channel, leading to some hurt feelings.

And as before, the Insider Program will use the Beta channel to preview Windows 11 experiences that are closer to what Microsoft intends to ship to customers in the future. These features are still not matched to a specific Windows 11 version, and they could still be canceled. But they’re closer.

And as before, the Release Preview channel is where testers can preview features that are coming to Windows 11 soon. So no changes across the three channels.

There is one change.

Buried deep in this post is a throwaway line that includes a mention of a Web Experience Pack, something users have spotted out in the wild in the past, but Microsoft has never officially acknowledged. This new type of Experience Pack is still not explained—that’s the Insider Program for you—but at least it’s out there now:

“We will deliver updates to features and experiences in builds from the Dev and Beta Channels by releasing Feature, Web, and Online Service Experience Packs on top of these builds too,” Ms. Langwoski writes. We know about Feature Experience Packs and Online Service Experience Packs, sort of. The former is literally noted in the Settings apps in Windows 10 and 11. And the latter was first mentioned in late October 2021, when the Insider Program wrote the following:

“Online Service Experience Packs work in a similar way as the Windows Feature Experience Packs do, allowing us to make updates to Windows outside of major OS updates. The difference between the two is that the Windows Feature Experience Packs can deliver broad improvements across multiple areas of Windows, whereas the Online Service Experience Packs are focused on delivering improvements for a specific experience such as the new Your Microsoft account settings page.”

I assume—because I have to—that Web Experience Packs are related to web experiences in Windows 11 like Widgets. Maybe we’ll learn more in the future.

Oh, there is one more thing.

Langowski also revealed that Microsoft is finally getting rid of the Insider Program’s cute but unprofessional “ninja cat’ branding and will use a new icon going forward:

This is meant to evoke “the community of people who love and help shape the future of Windows,” across the three Insider channels, Dev, Beta, and Release Preview. And not bowling pins.

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Conversation 14 comments

  • wunderbar

    Premium Member
    03 February, 2022 - 2:49 pm

    <p>The insider program existed in 2001? *insert giant winky face here*</p>

  • jimchamplin

    Premium Member
    03 February, 2022 - 2:57 pm

    <p>Bring the Ninjacat back. It’s the Insider program, it’s for nerds and geeks, not a Sunday school ministry at church. :D</p>

  • navarac

    03 February, 2022 - 3:08 pm

    <p>Someone has finally woken Amanda Langowski&nbsp;up from her slumber since taking over. Her post tells us nothing different. The Insider program lost its way when Gabe Aul left.</p>

  • lvthunder

    Premium Member
    03 February, 2022 - 4:03 pm

    <p>Paul seems to have missed an important part of this post. They are creating a Windows in which users can switch from the dev channel to the beta channel.</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      03 February, 2022 - 4:10 pm

      <p>Actually, I did miss that. </p><p><br></p><p>This was a feature last summer. That they killed with no warning.</p>

  • blue2cat

    03 February, 2022 - 7:04 pm

    <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">“We have more people running preview builds of Windows 11 than we did Windows 10” </span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">I wonder if that is due to the fact that that the insider program allows unsupported cpu versions to install win11.</span></p>

    • SvenJ

      Premium Member
      04 February, 2022 - 10:52 am

      <p>That’s my reason, on one machine. My real machines run real releases. The awful unsupported one runs Insider.</p>

  • winner

    04 February, 2022 - 12:59 am

    <p>Why has Microsoft up until now been developing the OS using Inexperience Packs?</p>

  • Bart

    Premium Member
    04 February, 2022 - 4:04 am

    <p>"<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">I assume—because I have to—that Web Experience Packs are related to web experiences in Windows 11 like Widgets. Maybe we’ll learn more in the future."</span></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">I think you are right Paul. We know (?) widgets will be delivered through the Windows Store. And unlike the Feature and the Online Service Experience Packs which are delivered via Windows Update, the Web Experience Pack is delivered through the Store, much like the widgets.</span></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">I think the new (One) Outlook app will be affected by the Web Experience Pack as well.</span></p>

  • blue77star

    04 February, 2022 - 8:16 am

    <p>I skipped Windows 10 all together because it is horrible OS, all together I had Windows 10 running less than a month. So From Windows 7 I went straight to Windows 11. I have to give a credit to MS. for what they are trying to do with Windows 11 across the board, basically rewrite every part of OS into a new modern counterpart but boy they are moving unacceptable slow with it. Come on Microsoft, are you telling me that multi billion company like you who spends billions buying Activision cannot hire more people to get this thing done?</p>

    • SvenJ

      Premium Member
      04 February, 2022 - 10:55 am

      <p>I can tell you if it takes 100 programmers 6 mos to do something, it is not a given that 200 can do it in 3 mos. Sometimes that can make it worse.</p>

  • SvenJ

    Premium Member
    04 February, 2022 - 10:59 am

    <p>Never have understood MS’s A/B philosophy. If A gets something and B does not, what do they expect out of B? Sure glad I didn’t get that thing I didn’t get the chance to try? </p>

  • JerryH

    Premium Member
    04 February, 2022 - 12:37 pm

    <p>Hmm. When I saw the announcement yesterday I thought sort of a stylized paw print from an animal missing some toes not bowling pins. Now that you mention bowling pins – yep, that’s what it is. Or a paw print. But not a community.</p>

  • stephencwll

    05 February, 2022 - 10:15 am

    <p>Web Experience Pack is definitely related to Widgets. I had numerous issues with widgets not working when we were all "testing" Windows 11 and it was an the Web Experience Pack update via the Store that fixed the problem.</p>


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