Microsoft is tweaking its Windows Insider early-access program

Windows 11 search bar on desktop, in insider build
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft has made a significant change to its Insider program by splitting its group of volunteer software testers into two teams.

In an update to its Beta Channel, both groups will continue to be able to test the upcoming 22H2 build of Windows 11, but the features each group will get access to will differ.

For some testers - known as Windows Insiders - the build number will be artificially incremented. Those fortunate enough to get version will get to experience some new features, while those stuck to will have these turned off in the code by default.

That said, the majority of Windows Insiders will get the upgrade, and those who are lumped with will be able to check for updates, and subsequently upgrade to

New features and fixes in Windows 11

This will allow Microsoft to test releasing updates that have certain features disabled, helping it to understand how it can proceed in the future with incremental updates, and tinkering with the code to enable new features. 

“By comparing feedback and usage data between [Windows] Insiders in these two groups, we will get to see if a feature is causing issues with reliability,” the company said.

In the process of dividing its helpers into two groups, “some [Windows] Insiders who had previous features rolled out to them may see them disappear.” These can be brought back by installing an enablement package, which the company recognizes “isn’t ideal.” 

In its latest build - 22622.290 - Windows 11 will suggest that users who copy a phone number make a phone call. Copied dates will also result in the OS recommending that users add this to their calendars.

Furthermore, 22622.290 also allows OneDrive subscribers to manage their accounts and billing from within the native Settings menu instead of navigating to the page online. Additional updates include various fixes and tweaks to File Explorer.

Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!