Windows 10 may be in its death throes, but Microsoft has reopened beta testing

Embossed Windows 10 logo

In something of an odd twist, Microsoft has announced that there will soon be a new beta version of Windows 10. Yes, Windows 10, not Windows 11.

There is a little over a year until Microsoft brings Windows 10 to end of service, meaning it will receive no more updates of any description. Despite this looming deadline, the reopening of the Windows 10 beta channel means that the first beta build of the operating system in three years is just weeks away. So what is going on?

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As you would expect, the Windows 10 beta channel will be used to test new features before they are rolled out more widely. Even so close to the end of Windows 10's life, Microsoft is still talking about adding more to the aging OS.

In a blog post, Microsoft says:

At the end of last year, we announced a change in approach for Windows 10 to make sure everyone can get the maximum value from their current Windows PC. To bring new features and more improvements to Windows 10 as needed, we need a place to do active feature development with Windows Insiders. So today, we are opening the Beta Channel for Windows Insiders who are currently on Windows 10. This will allow us to try out new features for Windows 10, version 22H2, with Insiders before releasing them to all Windows 10 customers.

Anyone interested in taking part should head to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Insider Program, click on the current Insider Channel selection and choose Beta Channel.

Microsoft is quick to point out that the reopening of the beta channel does not mean that there is a change to the end of support date for Windows 10 -- this remains October 14, 2025. The company also says:

  • We will not automatically upgrade you to Windows 11 when you join the Beta Channel. The Windows 11 upgrade will be available as optional, where you can choose to upgrade when you are ready.
  • You will be able to switch to the Canary or Dev Channels but in doing so it will upgrade your PC to the latest Windows 11 build for those channels.
  • If you switch to the Canary or Dev Channels, you will have a small window to roll back to Windows 10 but once this window closes, the only way to go back to the Beta Channel and/or Windows 10 will be to do a clean install of Windows.

There is no specified date for the next beta build release, but Microsoft promises that it will land in the coming weeks. The company also reminds users that "features and experiences included in the Windows 10 builds we flight to the Beta Channel might not ever get released as we try out different concepts and get feedback".

Microsoft has more information here.

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