I was checking recent postings over at TenForums.com earlier this morning, when I noticed a question about the current Insider Preview expiration date. If you look at the Winver.exe data for a recent Insider Preview — Build 18282.1000, for example — it almost always features an expiration date. Here’s what you’ll see right now if you look at this info for yourself:
Note the expiration date. If nothing changes . . . and thereby hangs this tale . . . this installation goes “poof” in 16 days!
Should this be cause for concern? Not really.
When I brought this to my partner Kari’s attention this morning his response was decidedly low-key. Where I had been assuming the expiration data incremented with each new release he correctly observes that it changes only a couple of times a year. Because a newer 19H1 Build will be released soon, it is a virtual certainty that the next such release will show an expiration date in mid-June of 2019. Because Insiders usually track the latest and greatest Insider Preview build, they will switch away from this soon-to-be-expired version before it has a chance to go stale and stop working.
It’s been Microsoft’s practice since the Windows 10 Insider Preview (or Technical Preview, as it was first known) program launched in October 2014 to issue Preview releases with expiration dates. I hadn’t noticed that the expiration date was not a sliding window. This would mean that, as each new Build emerged, its expiration date increased to give it a 6-month lease on life. Rather, Insider Preview releases belong to a cohort (grouped together) so that the whole group shares a common expiration date. Given that the current expiration date is drawing close to the present, it’s inevitable that (a) MS will issue a new release before that date arrives and (b) that the new release will be labeled something like 19H1 instead of the 1809 label we see in the preceding screenshot.
I can’t remember MS allowing the expiration date for Insider Previews to draw as close to the present day as it is now before. But there’s never been a release (10/2/2018) — withdraw (10/5/2018) — re-release (11/13/2018) cycle for a production releases before, either. My best guess is that MS has waited for the real 1809 release to settle down and go into real production before forking off a true 19H1 release for Insider Previews that targets the next Feature Upgrade. Because the clock is ticking down to 12/14/2018 with each passing day, Kari is absolutely correct to assert that MS will release a new Insider Preview build soon. My speculation is that it will be labeled 19H1, and that it will feature an expiration date on or around June 14, 2019 (6/14/2019). At any rate, we should be finding that out very soon!
When I wrote the previous portion of the post this morning, I had no idea that the afternoon would see this concern addressed. Turns out I was half- (or maybe one-third) right. As the following Winver.exe capture from my XPS 2720 Insider Preview test machine shows, a new build number 18290.1000 emerged today. It is still labeled 1809, but it shows an expiration date of 7/5/2019. Seldom in life do unanswered questions get addressed so quickly, so here you go!
Author: Ed Tittel
Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.