In the world of bleeding-edge Windows Insider preview builds, there are two groups of people: haves and have-nots. Microsoft is now bringing that dual nature beyond the Dev Channel to the more stable Beta Channel, while explicitly telling you which group you fall into.
Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22621.290 and 22622.290 for the Beta Channel is nothing that special. In fact, the new builds just bring the AI-driven “suggested actions” of May’s Dev Channel release into the Beta Channel, which is a step removed from the Release Preview Channel.
What Dev Channel testers know, however, are that the features that Microsoft “releases” in the Dev Channel aren’t always available to those who download them. Usually, Microsoft splits the release up into two groups, only one of which actually gets to test the new features. And you never know which group you’ll end up in. Now that split nature is coming to Windows 11 beta build as well, but with signposts.
The two new releases signal the “haves” and the “have-nots.” Build 22622.290 indicates that you’ll receive the new features, and Build 22621.290 signals that you will not. The key, as our highlighting indicates, is the fifth digit: “2” means that you’ll have access to the new features. If you don’t have access to the new features, however, Microsoft is also saying that you can download the build that does, by checking for updates within the Windows Update section of the Settings menu.
There’s only one problem. Microsoft is also reserving the right to wait to turn on the new features, even in the build version that is supposed to receive them. And the company’s blog post reveals that “not all features will be immediately turned on with this update as we plan to roll them out and monitor feedback and see how they land before pushing them out to more Insiders.”
Microsoft is therefore apparently announcing that you’ll be able to override Microsoft’s choice of whether you’ll be able to test out new features, but that Microsoft will be able to override your choice of when you receive those features, as the company is using this split path to “help us validate our ability to release updates with features turned off by default.” Living on the bleeding edge of Windows can sure be hectic.