Software development has a long phase before a new feature is released for a public use. The process is hectic especially for the popular applications like Windows 11 used by millions. If you are developer or interested in knowing new features before others, then you can participate in Windows Insider Program. You can also test and provide the feedback to Microsoft to make the feature better for others. In this article, we will explore what is Windows Insider Program and how to install the latest Windows 11 Canary build.
Note that you can register for Edge Insider Program or Office Inside Program to check and preview experimental features in advance for Edge and Office apps respectively. These are different from Windows Insider Program we explain in this article.
Windows Insider Program and Canary Channel
Earlier Microsoft was offering three channels for using previewing or flighting Windows OS builds before the availability of stable version.
- Developer Channel – unstable version for developers to preview initial ideas and follow long term development features of Windows.
- Beta Channel – reliable than developer builds suitable for users want to check the final state of a feature tested by Microsoft.
- Release Preview Build – preview bug fixes and access next version of Windows suitable for business users.
After these builds, you will get a stable build which you will be using in your system and the one you will get when purchasing a new license. Recently Microsoft also announced a fourth Windows Insider Program channel called “Canary” channel. This is the earliest build in the process before developer channel. Canary build is highly unstable and released with no documentation.After joining Windows Insider Program, you can select one of the four preview builds of Windows 11. Below is the illustrative picture from Microsoft showing all four preview channels with details:
Enrolling Your Device in Windows Insider Program
As mentioned, canary build is highly unstable version and you should NOT use this on your daily working laptop or desktop. You should try on testing device to avoid any data loss and security issues. If you have not enrolled in the Windows Insider Program, follow the below instructions to first enroll your device before installing canary build.
- Open Settings app (right-click on Start icon and select “Settings”)and go to “Windows Update” section.
- Then select the “Windows Insider Program” option as shown below.
- If you are seeing a warning message to enable optional diagnostics data, click “Open Diagnostics & feedback” link. This will take you to “Privacy & Security” settings where you can enable “Send optional diagnostic data” option.
- After that, go back to “Windows Insider Program” setting and click on the “Get started” button to subscribe to Windows Insider Program.
- The first step is to link your Microsoft account to join this program and for that choose the “Link an account” option.
- Sign into your Microsoft account associated with your system and then press “Continue”.
- Next, you will have to review the agreements for your account which means you are agreeing to the Windows Insider Program statement and agreement. If you wish to read both the statement and agreement, then click on the respective links. And after that click on “Continue”.
- The next step is to choose your insider channel from the given options. As mentioned, you have four channels available and select “Canary channel” option.
- Read the warning notes very carefully and then click on the “Continue” button. Make sure to take a backup of your data as you need a clean Windows 11 install later when you want to switch from Canary channel.
- You can either restart from here or click on the “Restart later” option to continue with your work.
- When you are ready, open “Windows Update” in Settings app and go to “Windows Insider Program” section. Click “Restart now” button to download and install the Canary build in your system.
How to Know Canary Build is Installed?
There are multiple ways to check build in Windows 11. The visible option is to check on the right-side of the desktop wallpaper. You will find the build number mentioning “Windows 11 Insider Preview”. You can also go to “Settings > System > About” and check under “Windows specifications” section to find the edition and build details.
Leaving Windows Inside Program
You can either unroll the device and quit the Insider program or just leave the Insider program and continue to use Canary build in the device. For opting out of the program, go to “Settings > Windows Update > Windows Insider Program” and click “Leave the insider program” link.
This will take you to the Microsoft website and click on “Leave the program now” button.
- Press the “Stop receiving insider Preview builds” button available on the page. This will unregister your email from the program and you will not receive any emails from Microsoft about Windows Insider Program.
Unenrolling Device from Canary Channel and Switch to Stable Version
For Beta and Release Preview channels, you can get the latest Windows updates to switch the channel. However, for developer and canary channels, you need a clean installation to get to stable to version. Go to “Windows Insider Program” section in the Settings app and click “Unenroll this device immediately” option. This will take you to “Reinstall Windows” page in the browser.
You can follow the clean install instructions in our guide to create an ISO media installation file using USB and install Windows 11 afresh. This means you will lose all data in the system and you should take up a system before clean install.
You can follow the above explained process to register for Windows Insider Program to enroll your device and install Windows 11 Canary build. Any time you can opt-out of the program and unenroll the device by doing a clean Windows 11 reinstall. Make sure you are not installing Canary build in the system which you need for daily use as switching needs a clean install.