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August 11, 2020

Windows Insider – Weird difference in Slow and Fast Ring

I wrote last week about Windows Insider team pushing full feature fast ring upgrades too often, when a simple cumulative update had been enough. This went in even more weird direction on Tuesday this week, when the build 19033 was released. Four fast ring builds in 11 days, each one only containing some bug fixes.

What makes it weird is the way 19033 was delivered. It was released simultaneously for both slow and fast rings. We fast ring insiders got it as a full feature upgrade, which on my laptops means about an hour-long offline phase. But slow ring insiders got it as a cumulative update, offline phase taking a minute or two. Same build, same changes (nothing, just a few bug fixes), two different delivery methods.

This is not right!

A question to Microsoft, its Windows and Windows Insider teams: how do you justify the fact, that depending on which ring an insider has opted in, he / she can get the same build extremely easy and fast as a cumulative update, or it will be delivered as a full feature upgrade?

Of course, I know that Microsoft will not answer my question. To be honest, I am not even expecting them to answer; this is so strange stuff that I am quite sure they don’t have an answer.

Just to be sure, I did a test on two new Hyper-V virtual machines, both with the same specifications. I installed version 1909 / 19H2 on both, and using the same Insider account, opted one in slow ring, one in fast ring. As I run both virtual machines at the same time, both virtual hard disks located on a HDD instead of SSD, they were not too fast but gave me some clear explanation about how these 19033 upgrades worked.

The slow ring VM took 3 minutes from clicking “Restart now” button from version 19H2 desktop to Insider build 19033 desktop. The fast ring VM took 1 hour and 18 minutes to do the same. Weird, strange and unnecessary.

Windows Insider team, please do not push simple bug fixes as full feature upgrades. There’s no reason for it, your 19033 delivery to slow ring Insiders proves that.


Author: Kari Finn

A former Windows Insider MVP, Kari started in computing in the mid 80’s writing code for VAX / VMS systems. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of IT positions. He specializes in Windows image capture, customization, repair and deployment as well as Hyper-V virtualization. Kari is a proud Team Member at number #1 Windows site TenForums.com.

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