Windows Insiders can now 'skip ahead' to Windows 10 Redstone 4

Windows-10-key-red

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (aka Redstone 3) is nearly done. Microsoft is just working to kill all the bugs and stabilize the release now.

It won’t begin the official rollout for a while -- and if the speed of the Creators Update rollout is anything to go by you likely won’t get it for months anyway -- but the software giant is already looking to the future, and Redstone 4. Insiders who want to remain on the cutting edge at all times will be given the chance to 'skip ahead' and start receiving builds from that future branch if they wish.

SEE ALSO: All the features Microsoft is removing or deprecating in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

Insiders who want to jump to the next build will be able to do so in Settings > Update & Security and going into the Windows Insider Program section. Under 'What kind of content would you like to receive?' select 'Skip ahead to the next Windows release.'

Users who do this will be given the opportunity to start trying out the Redstone 4 builds, in addition to receiving app updates again for many of the inbox apps in Windows 10 such as Photos, Skype, Groove, and Movies & TV.

skip ahead redstone 4

Microsoft explains the idea behind the move, stating:

To stabilize the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update for release, we have "forked" the release into its own branch we call "RS3_RELEASE". Many Windows Insiders will recall we did the same thing for the Windows 10 Creators Update when we started flighting builds from the "RS2_RELEASE" branch. Going forward, Windows Insiders in the Fast ring will continue to get builds for the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update from this branch. However, Windows Insiders who choose to skip ahead will receive builds from the RS_PRERELEASE branch.

To summarize:

  • Fast ring: Builds from RS3_RELEASE branch with no inbox app updates.
  • Fast ring + Skip Ahead: Builds from RS_PRERELEASE with inbox app updates from the Store.

Since this fork just occurred, the builds from the RS_PRERELEASE and RS3_RELEASE branches will be virtually identical. But at some point in the future, build numbers in the RS_PRERELEASE branch will jump ahead, engineering teams will start checking in new code, and things diverge. When this happens -- you will not be able to leave Skip Ahead and go back to builds from the RS3_RELEASE branch without reinstalling Windows. Once the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is released to the general public, this skip ahead option will go away and the Fast ring will be back to receiving builds from the RS_PRERELEASE branch for the next Windows 10 release and inbox app updates from the Store will be fully restored to all Windows Insiders in the Fast and Slow rings.

Obviously, skipping ahead like this is not without risks. As Microsoft puts it, "builds from RS_PRERELEASE will get less stable as teams start checking in new code."

Insiders who choose not to skip ahead, will eventually be transitioned into the RS_PRERELEASE channel anyway, unless they choose to opt out of the Insider program.

There is one other issue to be aware of, and that’s only a limited number of Insiders will be able to take advantage of the option to skip ahead. Once Microsoft’s limit is met, the option will be closed.

Photo credit: charnsitr / Shutterstock

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