Microsoft admits non-insiders are beta testing Windows updates

Greg S

Posts: 1,607   +442

Windows Updates have caused a number of issues this year. Most notably the October 2018 update was responsible for deleting users' files without their knowledge. In a blog post by Michael Fortin, Corporate Vice President for Windows, it is made clear that home users are intentionally being given updates that are not necessarily ready for deployment.

Many power users are familiar with Patch Tuesday. On the second Tuesday of each month, Microsoft pushes out a batch of updates at 10:00 a.m. Pacific time on this day containing security fixes, bug patches, and other non-security fixes. Updates pushed out as part of Patch Tuesday are known as "B" release since it happens during the second week of the month.

During the third and fourth weeks of the month are where things begin to get murky. Microsoft's "C" and "D" releases are considered previews for commercial customers and power users. No security fixes are a part of these updates, but for good reasoning. Microsoft has come out to directly say that some users are the guinea pigs for everyone else.

"The intent of these releases is to provide visibility into, and enable testing of, the non-security fixes that will be included in the next Update Tuesday release."

In some fairness to Microsoft, C and D updates are typically only applied when a user manually checks for updates by clicking the button buried within Settings. However, if end users really wanted to be a part of testing the latest features, the Windows Insider Program is designed exactly for that purpose. Someone looking for standard updates may just want the latest security patches and nothing more.

There are a number of steps detailed on how Microsoft does go about trying to ensure updates roll out smoothly without any problems, but even after extensive testing, track records indicate that the system still has plenty of room for improvement.

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Posts: 5,464   +6,145
Imagine if Microsoft hired people to bugfix for them instead of screwing their customers.

My windows update is set to only download when the patches are ready for large organizations. One of the benefits of having the pro version.


Posts: 621   +329
The majority of Insiders are concerned with UI design & features, not stability & bugs. That being said, another percentage of Insiders only run their Insider Builds in VM test environments, which means they're not likely not doing their usual computing tasks on these device to ever encounter any REAL issues.

Microsoft needs to stop being cheap and hire a dedicated QA team for Windows.


Posts: 684   +441
Microsoft needs to stop being cheap and hire a dedicated QA team for Windows.

They have a dedicated QA team and always have had one, or multiples. The problem is, those guys suck at their jobs. And they have more fun watching everyone (and watching us squirm) than they do making Win10 better - so just don't use it, I guess. After my last Win10 failure, I reverted to Win7 even on my main workstation. Never bothered sidegrading any of the others, since Win7 works just fine.

Darth Shiv

Posts: 2,144   +744
I manually click for updates and I don't expect beta patches. After all, are we not told over and over to stay up to date on our software?
Yep it's a total cluster****. Whoever is making these calls is a complete ***** with no understanding of QA for Microsoft's HUGE userbase.

I think I can state justifiably this is worse than Clippy.


Posts: 1,567   +670
I control my updates on Windows 10 Home by setting connection to [Metered] under [Network and Internet] > {Connection Type} and setting a low [Data Usage] limit. It generally does the trick without any addon programs


Posts: 75   +16
This 'company' really needs deep changes in its 'mentality' and manners of doing 'things'.
Or else there should be 'bad' consequences, like class actions.


Posts: 258   +199
To summarize this article: it contains containing patently false information, and is relying on a complete misunderstanding of the facts presented in the linked Microsoft blog post. For ex. the "preview" updates in question are optional and are not installed automatically on anyone's computer not wanting it - even if that person clicks the Check for Updates button manually.

There's also nowhere a mention of these preview updates being by any means beta, meaning: expected to have bugs or problem. They're nothing more than the first level of a staged rollout plan, where only those who are willing and wanting to download some otherwise already tested and QA-d patches can do so as first.

This obviously also helps Microsoft in identifying any problems that might be still present in the patches (and which could not be caught by the regular QA). However, if Microsoft wouldn't allow optional preview of these updates for the willing users, then that would only make things worse, because it would mean, that those problems would only surface when everyone would get the patches, and thus possibly wreak havoc on far more computers than this way.


Posts: 16,466   +5,263
I bought a cheapie Windows 10 tablet, simply to function as a photo viewer. Unfortunately, Windows is not activated. I haven't used it yet, for the reason I'm scared to death to hook it to the web, for the fear of M$ dumping a crap load of faulty updates on me, instead of just activating the OS the way they would have in the good old days. In fact the way they're still forced to do with versions as old as XP.

This is after I bought a cheap Android tablet which I never used, since Android is totally worthless without a wireless internet account. I thought at least I would be able to import pictures to it. Wrongo..!:mad: