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The future of Windows in the new Canary channel

March 6, 2023.

Serinus canaria.

Serinus canaria. © iStock.

Microsoft is launching a new channel, Canary, for its Windows Insider program. This channel previews Windows versions that have just been built in Microsoft’s labs. Testers can now plumb the depths of the major changes to the kernel, APIs, and other core levels of Windows. Versions appear more frequently on Canary than on the current Dev channel, but they are, predictably, less stable. Microsoft therefore recommends this channel only to very tech-savvy users, as the new functionalities are usually still in the early stages of the development cycle. Though the attendant documentation will be light, Microsoft will publish blog posts to inform testers of key release features. Amanda Langowski, head of the Windows Insider program, clarifies that some changes being tested on the Canary channel could very well never see the light of day.

This puts the number of Windows Insider channels to four:

  • Canary includes the latest modifications to a platform at the beginning of its development cycle. The versions could be unstable and they are meant for highly proficient users.
  • Dev features the latest Windows preview versions with their new features. Here too, the versions could be unstable and they are meant for enthusiasts.
  • Beta versions of Windows are more stable than those on the Dev channel. Microsoft has validated these builds’ updates.
  • Release Preview gives a preview of fixes and new features about to be released. The builds are rock solid and meant for commercial users to test changes just before roll-out.

The Verge, Tom Warren, “Microsoft will now preview the future of Windows with new Canary channel.”

Ars Technica, Andrew Cunningham, “New ‘Canary’ channel will showcase more-experimental, less-stable Windows builds.”


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