Microsoft Accidentally Releases Internal Builds Via Windows Insider Program

Windows Insider Program members got a peek behind the curtain yesterday when Microsoft accidentally sent out internal builds of Windows 10. The builds were pushed to an undisclosed number of PC and Windows Phone users, and Microsoft advised anyone who received them not to install them.

For anyone who isn't familiar with the Windows Insider Program: It's an opt-in program that offers early access to upcoming versions of Windows 10, with the caveat being that these pre-release builds aren't as stable as official updates. Members can choose between various "rings" based on their level of comfort with potentially broken software. Still, none of these rings are supposed to receive the internal builds released yesterday.

Microsoft explained the situation in a blog post:

This happened because an inadvertent deployment to the engineering system that controls which builds/which rings to push out to insiders. The team was quick to revert the deployment and put blocks in place to stop these builds from going out to more people. Our analysis shows only a small portion of folks got these builds.

The accidental release doesn't appear to be too bad for PC users. Microsoft said only that the build "may include issues that impact usability of your PC – more so than the normal builds we give you." The company didn't go into specifics, but anyone concerned about the ramifications of installing this build can just roll back to a previous version of Windows 10, provided they do so within the next 10 days and haven't run Disk Cleanup.

Windows Phone users are worse off. Microsoft said the internal build won't even install on your phone; it'll just force the device into a reboot loop until you use the Windows Device Recovery Tool and re-flash. Once that's done, you can sign back up for the Windows Insider Program. The company said you should follow these steps if you've been offered this update but haven't installed it:

If your device has downloaded this build but has not installed the build (you see either a “Install” or “Restart now” button under Phone update) – you will have to do a device reset via Settings > System > About (Do a backup via Settings > Update & security > Backup FIRST) and then check your Windows Insider Program settings to ensure you’re on the right ring.

Microsoft said these builds might also have been offered to people who aren't members of the Windows Insider Program. The good news, however, is that they wouldn't install. That's probably a wise safeguard--the people who sign up for the Windows Insider Program are unlikely to panic when they accidentally receive builds like these, but many of the other people who use Windows 10 would probably freak out.

The bad news: Microsoft has decided not to release any new builds to Windows Insider Program members this week. It's not hard to guess why, but with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update approaching, it's a shame not to get a sneak peek at what's coming to the opera

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.

  • dstarr3
    Boy. Good thing only three people have Windows phones, otherwise they'd have quite a kerfuffle on their hands, bricking them with accidental updates and all.
  • 3ogdy
    Windows Phone users are no problem. Think about it: they all work at Microsoft and live close to its headquarters. There's always the good to take into account.
  • bigpinkdragon286
    4 people, and no, they don't all work at Microsoft. I have one. I am not running Windows Phone 10 however, as it had as many problems as the desktop version, and I preferred to use my phone more than sit around waiting for it to update.

    As for bricking with an accidental update, Windows Phone 10 bricked phones with intentional updates, so I don't see an accidental brick being much worse. Nokia had to release special software for unbricking phones. That's pretty sad.
  • falchard
    Close one, I almost installed this update on my phone. At least they didn't release one with a dev tracker in an official update like Office 365 just did.
  • Stokesperc
    My phone got one of the accidental builds on an overnight update. The device recovery tool won't fix the problem as the phone does not get far enough into the boot process to connect to the device recovery tool on my PC. Waiting to 24-48 hours to hear back from MS for a solution.
  • jcwbnimble
    Microsoft's solution: Buy an Android