Manage Windows 10 Insider Preview Builds

Administrators can manage installation of Windows 10 Insider Preview Builds across multiple devices in their organization using the following steps:

Register your domain

To authenticate multiple devices for Insider Preview builds, register your organization's Azure Active Directory domain with the Windows Insider Program. To register a domain, you must be registered in the Windows Insider Program with your work account in Azure AD (see Register) and you must also be assigned a Global Administrator role on that Azure AD domain. Also requires Windows 10 Version 1703 or later on the machine used for registration.

NOTE:

  • The Windows Insider Program only supports registration of domains in Azure Active Directory (and not Active Directory on premises) as a corporate authentication method.
  • Once a domain is registered, administrators do not have to register each individual device or user with the Windows Insider Program in order to apply Insider Preview build installation polices.
  • To get the most benefit out of the Windows Insider Program for Business, organizations should not use a test tenant of Azure AD. There will be no modifications to the Azure AD tenant to support the Windows Insider Program as it will only be used as an authentication method.

Join devices to Azure Active Directory

In order to receive Insider Preview builds through Windows Update, devices must be joined to the same Azure AD domain that was registered with the Windows Insider Program. For devices on a local Active Directory not already joined to Azure AD, follow these steps:

To join individual devices

  1. Open Settings, and then select Accounts.
  2. Select Access work or school, and then select Connect.
  3. On the "Set up a work or school account" screen, select Join this device to Azure Active Directory.
  4. On the "Let's get you signed in" screen, type your Azure AD email address (for example, alain@contoso.com), and then select Next.
  5. On the "Enter password" screen, type your password, and then select Sign in.
  6. On the "Make sure this is your organization" screen, review the information to make sure it's right, and then select Join.

See also Join your work device to your organization's network.

To join multiple devices

To join multiple devices on your local Active Directory to your Azure AD domain, use Azure AD Connect. For more details, see: Integrate your on-premises directories with Azure Active Directory

Create and manage policies

You can use Group Policy, System Center Configuration Manager or MDM solutions such as Intune to configure the Windows Update for Business settings that control how and when Windows 10 Insider Preview Builds are installed on devices.

NOTE:

  • To enable installation of Insider Preview builds, telemetry on a device must be set to Enhanced (level 2) or Full (level 3). By default, Windows 10 devices are set to Full. For more information on diagnostic settings policies, see Configure Windows diagnostic data in your organization.
  • Windows Update for Business policies used to install Insider Preview Builds that are created with one management tool cannot be changed using another. For example, a policy set using Group Policy can only be changed on a client device using Group Policy and cannot be changed using SCCM or Intune.

Set using Group Policy

  1. In the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC), go to Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/Windows Components/Windows Update/Windows Update for Business
  2. Open Manage preview builds to enable installation of Insider Preview builds on a device. This setting can also be used to prevent installation on a device and stop Insider Preview build updates once the release is public.
  3. Open Select when Preview Builds and Feature Updates are received and select the Ring from which you want devices to receive Insider Preview builds (Fast, Slow, Release Preview). This setting can also be used to defer installation for a set number of days after release or pause installation of Insider Preview builds.

See also:
Use Group Policy to configure Windows Update for Business
VIDEO: Installing and managing Preview Builds using Group Policy

Intune Update Ring

Manage device restarts after updates

You can schedule update installation and set policies for restart, configure active hours for when restarts will not occur, or you can do both. To read more about how to manage device restarts after updates, click the link here.

Set using Microsoft Intune

  1. Log into the Azure portal and select Intune under Resources.
  2. Navigate to Software Updates>Windows 10 Update Rings. Click “+” to create an Update Ring policy.
  3. Under Servicing Channel, select the Ring from which you want devices to receive Insider Preview builds.
  4. Adjust Feature update deferral period if you want to defer deployment of Insider Preview builds for a certain number of days after release.
  5. Click OK and Create to set policy.
  6. Go to Assignments to assign the policy to users and devices. Note: you can create groups with one or more users or devices in Intune under Groups.

See also: Manage software updates in Intune VIDEO: Installing and managing Preview Builds using Intune

Intune Update Ring

Set using other MDM service providers

To set Windows Update for Business policies for Insider Preview builds using non-Microsoft MDM service providers, using the CSP settings below. For guidance on configuring CSPs, see CSPs in MDM.

Update/ManagePreviewBuilds

Update/BranchReadinessLevel

Install builds via Windows Server Update Services

You can manage pre-release builds directly from WSUS. To do this, go check the Windows Insiders Pre-release product and Upgrades category in WSUS Products and Classifications and sync WSUS. Then once the sync completes and shows up on WSUS console, approve it for whatever computer group you want the update deployed to, and deploy as you would any other update.

Set using System Center Configuration Manager

  1. In the Products tab of Software Update Point Component Properties, select the box next to Windows Insider Pre-Release. NOTE: *While this option will be visible on every version of Configuration Manager, you must be running Configuration Manager, version 1906 or newer to select it.)

Set using System Center Config

  1. If you already manage your organization’s deployments using Configuration Manager, use the same procedure you currently use to deploy any other Windows 10 feature update (Software Library > Overview > Windows 10 Servicing > All Windows 10 Updates). Once you reach the list of All Windows 10 Updates, you will see an option for “Windows Insider Pre-release Feature Update to Windows 10 Version 1909” as shown below:

Set using System Center Config-2

  1. Deploy the release the same way as any other feature update. create

Install preview builds from Azure Marketplace

Windows Insiders can now create and install a Windows 10 Preview build from the Azure Marketplace. After installing, you can preview the latest version on a virtual machine without any additional configurations or updates. Follow the link to get started and learn more.

Confirm and track installations

Confirm policy

To confirm that your Windows Update for Business policies have been set correctly, go to Settings>Update & Security>Windows Update on the device and click on "View configured update policies". You can also check the following key in the Registry Editor on the device: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate. A device set to receive an Insider Preview build would show the following values:

  • BranchReadinessLevel = 2 (Fast), 4 (Slow) or 8 (Release Preview)
  • ManagePreviewBuilds = 1

Windows Update for Business values in Registry Editor

NOTE: Once a policy has been set, the device must be restarted for the policy to be activated.

Track devices

You can use Device Health in Windows Analytics to monitor devices running Insider Preview builds. This can be useful for identifying device, device driver and application issues. See Using Device Health to monitor Insider Preview builds.