During the test cycle for Windows 10 v1809 or Windows 10 October Update, Microsoft was seen releasing many builds for testing in the Slow Ring. These releases were taking place because these builds were reliable when compared to the previous releases. This all took place because the Slow Ring got support for servicing. This directly benefits the businesses who use these Insider Preview releases to deploy the latest releases in their offices.
Windows Insider Slow Ring gets support for Servicing
Microsoft defines the Slow Ring as,
“Builds in the Slow Ring are ideal for users who want to see new features but not run the risk of really bad issues. It provides new updates and features but are more stable than builds in the Fast Ring. This makes the Slow Ring an ideal place to for both feature exploration, longer running validation tests as well as app and infrastructure validation.”
When the bugs found out for a build in the Fast Ring are serviced, sometimes, this takes a long time depending upon the severity of the bug, or at sometimes, it gives rise to even newer bugs. Hence, as the end of the development cycle approaches, there is the number of Slow Ring builds than that in the starting of the same development cycle.
Now at Microsoft Build 2018, Microsoft announced that they would address the bugs, create fixes and package them as quality updates and release them along with the Feature Updates. This eventually leads to a more stable build being released to the Windows Insiders.
Talking about those who process, they mentioned that this comprises 3 major steps. They are,
Evaluation of the quality of flights in the Fast Ring: With the help of the feedback from the Windows Insiders and even the Internal Self-hosting, the team at Microsoft judges the quality of the Fast Ring flights.
Triaging the proposed bugs blocking the flight: The bug reports collected are sent to the concerned feature teams and these bugs are then fixed. These fixes take places in branches as the major release and take around 3 to 5 days. Once checked in, these fixes are packaged into a latest cumulative update (LCU).
Delivering these fixes with the Slow Ring flight: After another round of Self-host testing internally, if the build matches the Quality Assurance level, it is released to the Slow Ring.
Why is it good for the Windows Insiders?
This greatly adds a lot of positive value for the Windows Insiders. Microsoft says-
- We can stabilize a Fast Ring build even in the early stages of a release cycle – and send it to the Slow Ring right way. In fact, you’ll start seeing builds in the Slow Ring earlier than ever before in our upcoming RS6 release cycle.
- All builds will receive the latest MSRC security fixes shortly after public availability. We will align to InMarket “B” releases — aka Patch Tuesday build.
- We can commit that, once a month, we will select a build and ‘stabilize’ it with selective fixes in a short timeframe to bring it up to the quality needed for the Slow Ring.
- We will aspire to take all FAST builds to SLOW if they meet the quality bar.
Microsoft is constantly working in making this process a better mechanism which will result in high-speed delivery and great stability to these flights. Until that time, if you are someone who wants to try out Windows 10 releases before they go out to the public, make sure that you join the Windows Insider Program. After enrolling, if you want to see the latest features before anyone else, join the Fast Ring.
You can read more about this announcement here.