If you’re a Windows 10 Insider you currently have the choice of being in either the Fast or Slow rings. The Fast ring is used for cutting edge -- and potentially more buggy -- builds, while Slow ring releases tend to be pushed out less frequently, but are proven to be more stable.
Which ring you choose depends on how desperately you want to try out new builds -- it’s safe to say Fast ring releases aren’t really suited for use on your main PC. However, from today there’s now a third choice available to Insiders, and that’s the Release Preview ring.
This new ring, for both PC and mobile, focuses on Insiders who want to take hardly any risks at all, but still gain access to important OS, application, and driver updates before they are pushed out to non-insiders.
Builds on the Release Preview ring are based on the Current Branch, that is (for now) Build 10586.
Microsoft’s Gabe Aul explains the three rings like this:
- Fast -- Best for Insiders who enjoy being the first to get access to builds and feature updates, with some risk to their devices in order to identify issues, and provide suggestions and ideas to make Windows software and devices great.
- Slow -- Best for Insiders who enjoy getting early access to builds and feature updates, with less risk to their devices, and still want to provide feedback to make Windows software and devices great.
- Release Preview -- Best for Insiders who enjoy getting early access to updates for the Current Branch, Microsoft applications, and drivers, with minimal risk to their devices, and still want to provide feedback to make Windows devices great.
To be honest I’m not sure quite how popular the new ring will be, or how much feedback Microsoft can expect to receive from Release Preview Insiders -- there will, in most cases, be little to report back on. But it might serve as a useful safety net to stop buggy updates and drivers reaching the masses, and that has to be a good thing.