If you want to beta test builds of Windows before everyone gets them, the Insider Program currently has a few release channels that range from relatively stable to extremely buggy. However, a new Canarian branch is becoming the most innovative channel.
Microsoft has announced a new Canary release channel for the Insider Program, which will allow people to try new and freshly prepared additions to the Windows operating system. Here, Microsoft will release “hot off the press” builds of Windows for Insiders; presumably that means they will go straight from internal “dogfood” testing to canary testing with little to no validation or documentation.
These new canary builds will start with the 25000 series builds of Windows 11, and could also be where we first see publicly available builds of Windows 12 whenever they become available. After all, there have been strong hints and rumors of a new major version of Microsoft’s operating system in the near future.
Microsoft also said that it will use this channel to test the kind of platform changes that need more extensive testing before being released to users: a new major release would fit that description. The language of Microsoft’s press release seems to avoid linking Windows 11 to this new canary channel. We’re just speculating here, but anything could happen.
This doesn’t mean we’ll see Microsoft launch Windows 12 any time soon. In fact, the first Canary builds will probably be Windows 11. But even if we do, you shouldn’t install it on your main PC. These will be unstable builds with little documentation and things could break.
People who are currently on the Dev channel will be upgrading to Canary starting today. The Dev channel will still exist, but it is being reused to provide better platform stability than Canary. But if you want to continue getting development builds, you’ll need to do a clean install of Windows.