Last week we kicked off the inaugural meeting of the Naperville System Center user group. This group is for IT pros who specialize in systems management, mobility, and security in the far West suburbs of Chicago. Our meeting was sponsored by Adaptiva and Flexera Software who presented hour-long sessions. Johan Arwidmark, a co-founder and member of the leadership team presented his own session on Windows 10 deployment with Configuration Manager. I also presented a quick session introducing the Windows Insider for Business Program. Our meeting was well attended and the audience provided excellent feedback during sessions and afterwards during our networking happy hour.

Windows Insider for Business Program

I kicked off this session giving information about the Insider Program itself and explaining how the internal build process works at Microsoft and I defined the types of releases or rings an Insider can adopt. There are two internal builds before Insiders on the Fast Ring get to test drive a given build:

  • The Fast Ring is for IT pros who want to go at the speed of light with release cadence, seeing as many as several builds each month. It is a great way to provide feedback to the product team and help shape the future of Windows 10.
  • There is then another internal Microsoft build (internal meaning it is not available to the public), before Insiders on the Slow Ring get a build. The Slow Ring has many benefits. The build is more stable thus posing less of a risk to the test machine but still allows an Insider to see new features and provide feedback.

Typically, when a build gets sent to the Slow Ring there is also an ISO that can be downloaded so that IT pros can test their preferred deployment method. There is also an Insider ADK (Assessment and Deployment Kit) which can be used in the deployment process as well. These ADKs are build signed so they should be installed on the matching Insider build. It isn’t until close to release of the product that the ADK can be installed on a production version of Windows. The close to release build is called Release Preview. It is the final release on the Insider program after another round of internal testing at Microsoft. IT pros will see early access to what will be released as the Current Branch build and can provide feedback. Insiders on this ring will see the most stable and least risky build because it is nearly complete. Even on this final ring, Insiders can provide feedback.

Microsoft release cycle ring diagram

The Insider program was originally available to consumers and IT pros alike providing a feedback hub for everybody to report bugs and general user experience. With 10 million Insiders, it became difficult to separate corporate feedback from consumer feedback. That is why the Insider for Business program was created. Anybody with an Azure AD account can register. The benefits of joining this program are that it provides an isolated feedback experience. Enterprise level feedback is given its own space so it isn’t drowned out by consumer feedback.

Microsoft Insider Program for Business Benefits

For more information and to sign up for the program, please visit the following link: ISOs for the Slow Ring can be downloaded from the following link, but IT pros will need to sign in with the account they have registered with the Insider Program. As a reminder, it is best to sign up with your corporate credentials so that you have the full Insider for Business experience.

The NSCUG group will meet once each quarter to provide IT pros near Naperville the opportunity to network and learn from industry pros. In the interim, Adaptiva has committed to provide systems management focused pros more learning opportunities through conference sessions, blogs and webinars. If you are an IT pro who is interested in systems management as well as security, please join us for our webinar on August 1 that is presented by Dale Meredith and hosted by Redmond Magazine. Dale will provide real-world info on system security and Adaptiva will share how Client Health can help automate security configurations in the enterprise.

Sign up here