We have known for quite some time that Microsoft will make their free Windows 10 Upgrade for Windows 7 and 8.1 users widely available on 29 July 2015.
That date is just one month away from today yet Windows Insiders have not seen a new desktop build of Windows 10 since 29 May 2016 – exactly 30 days ago.
We are at a very symmetrical spot regarding Windows 10 as we sit right in the middle of a 60 day period between known builds. We already have Windows 10 build 10130, the last official Insider Preview release from 29 May and in 30 days we know that another build will be available – RTM.
What happens in between these two builds though? Will Insiders see another pre-release build of Windows 10?
According to Gabe Aul on Twitter early this morning a new build is coming soon. Not the first time we have heard that and what I wouldn’t give for the definition of the term soon but I have no doubt that the Windows 10 team is trying to strike a balance between getting Insiders a new build and reaching RTM status.
The reality is that there could be no more Insider Preview builds released between now and RTM and that would not likely slow the process of getting Windows 10 ready for RTM. In fact it could remove some distractions by letting the team focus on the quality benchmarks for Windows 10 to ensure a solid RTM release.
The flip side of that coin is that Windows Insiders can be huge brand advocates for Windows 10 and by releasing at least one or two more builds Microsoft will gain a couple of benefits.
First is pure telemetry from a multitude of system configurations to see if the latest code has any undiscovered bugs and how the OS runs as it gets closer to that RTM date. Collecting this telemetry is a very quick way for Microsoft to discover potentially show stopping bugs.
The second is 4.4 million happy insiders as RTM approaches. Microsoft has put a lot of effort into building this group since last fall and they want Insiders to continue the testing journey after RTM. This means they want those Insiders to install and test post release builds of Windows 10 as new features, fixes and other updates are added to the OS.
The sweet taste of a couple more pre-release builds will help to entice many Insiders to opt into that post release Insider Program but the bitter taste of potentially not receiving anymore builds until RTM will be a tough one to get rid of.
Personally, I am still of the opinion that there are at least two more builds to come for Insiders. One should be the build that Gabe said is coming soon and then the second one should be in a week or two and likely a build just before what will become RTM for Windows 10.
The telemetry and bug reports from Insiders on a build like that can still be very useful and allow Microsoft to prepare possible Day 1 patches/updates to address any lingering issues that might be in RTM.
We are definitely at a fork in the road for Windows 10 development and these final stages are very important and will help set the tone for the reception of Windows 10 by the general public.
We all know how detrimental perception can be – just go back and look at the release of Windows 8 in the fall of 2012.