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Strange Insider Preview Offer Pops Up on Win10

On Friday, I went upstairs to work on my wife’s PC. An end-of-month Cumulative Update, KB4346783, had been installed automatically, and I needed to restart the machine while she was out of the house to complete that process. Much to my surprise and consternation, the following notification appeared on that machine right after I logged in:

Insider Preview 17751 offer

“Wow!” I found myself thinking. “Why on earth is a PC running production 1803 getting a notice about Insider Previews?”

What’s Wrong with THIS Picture?

This proffer is wrong on numerous levels. First, the “Update” button — which, fortunately, didn’t work on machines not logged in to Insider Preview accounts — intimates that a person could install the 17751 Insider Preview if clicked. Second, there’s no reason why MS should be offering such an update on an unenrolled PC. Third, many of the users who might see this offer (my wife included) might be fooled into thinking that the update is something they could, should, or perhaps even MUST do. All of those possible presumptions are, of course dead wrong. And fourth, unless you’re already in the know about the Insider Program, there’s no way you’d recognize the “Ninja Cat” icon that accompanies the offer. For many of the folks who mistakenly saw this offer, they could only wonder what the heck the graphic was trying to communicate . . .

Tempest in a Teapot, or Major Gaffe?

As it turns out, those who mistakenly received this notification couldn’t really do anything with it. Clicking the Update button on machines not already enrolled in the Insider Preview program didn’t (and couldn’t) actually provoke actual upgrades to 17751. Lots of people have jumped on this phenomenon, as this Twitter thread illustrates (click the preceding link to see full-sized view; I had to shrink this image quite a bit to fit into a reasonable amount of screen real estate):

Brandon LeBlanc gets Twitter feedback on mistaken 17751 offerThe general consensus that emerged from this strange phenomenon is:

  • It was a goof-up.
  • It should not have appeared on non-insider PCs.
  • MS immediately goes into defensive mode and claims “it’s not wide spread” despite numerous reports of seeing the offer.
  • It confirms my own experience that the update offer doesn’t do anything on unenrolled PCs.
  • It leads to a certain amount of controversy or disagreement as to the seriousness of the error.
Other Voices on This Goof-Up

Once again, Martin Brinkman at ghacks.net comes through with some nice commentary here. His response appeared earlier this morning in a post entitled “Need Another Reason to Block Automatic Windows Updates?” He observes that Windows Update has been somewhat problematic of late, and suggests this boo-boo as yet another justification for blocking or deferring automatic Windows Update behavior on PCs. He goes on to say “The disabling of automatic updates may have prevented the notification in the first place if the notification is initiated through a new update check by Windows Update.” So far, MS is mum as to whether or not his presumption is correct.

I’m not inclined to get terribly bent out of shape by this, primarily because it couldn’t cause anything more than befuddlement amongst the uninformed and unwary. But I do agree with Brinkman that this is a symptom of an update strategy from Microsoft that sometimes appears rather more experimental and less thoroughly tested than some might like. That said, it’s not a huge problem or a major inconvenience to those who, like me, saw the notification and wondered why they were seeing it. Go figure!

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.

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