Windows 11 has been released, but behind the scenes, Microsoft is constantly working to improve the newest version of Windows. The company frequently rolls out public preview builds to members of its Windows Insider Program, allowing them to test out — and even help shape — upcoming features.

The Windows Insider program is divided into three channels:

  • The Dev Channel is where new features are introduced for initial testing, regardless of which Windows release they’ll eventually end up in. This channel is best for technical users and developers and builds in it may be unstable and buggy.
  • In the Beta Channel, you’ll get more polished features that will be deployed in the next major Windows release. This channel is best for early adopters, and Microsoft says your feedback in this channel will have the most impact.
  • The Release Preview Channel typically doesn’t see action until shortly before a new feature update is rolled out. It’s meant for final testing of an upcoming release and is best for those who want the most stable builds.

The Beta and Release Preview Channels also receive bug-fix builds for the currently shipping version of Windows 11.

Not everyone can participate in the Windows 11 Insider program, because the new operating system has more stringent system requirements than Windows 10. As outlined in this Microsoft blog post, if your PC fails to meet the minimum hardware requirements for Windows 11, you cannot join the Windows 11 Insider Program.

Use the links below to find information about the Windows 11 preview builds that have been released:

For each build, we’ve included the date of its release, which Insider channel it was released to, a summary of what’s in the build, and a link to Microsoft’s announcement about it.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.



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