Microsoft today restarted distribution of Windows 10 previews by delivering the first new build since the November upgrade of five weeks ago.
The new version, identified as build 11082, was offered to Windows Insider participants who have selected the "Fast" ring, or delivery track.
According to Gabriel Aul, engineering general manager for Microsoft's operating systems group, build 11082 has few visible changes from the upgrade issued Nov. 11. "You won't see big noticeable changes or new features just yet," Aul cautioned in a post to a Microsoft blog that announced 11082's release.
Instead, Aul continued, engineers were doing some housekeeping to prep for more changes and new features in early 2016. "We're doing some code refactoring and other engineering work to make sure OneCore is optimally structured for teams to start checking in new features and improvements in the new year," Aul said.
"OneCore" is Microsoft's label for the single kernel -- along with associated dynamic link libraries (DLLs) and other bits of the OS code -- that Microsoft uses as the foundation of Windows 10 across multiple platforms, ranging from PCs and tablets to smartphones, the Xbox console, Internet-of-things (IoT) devices and even the pending, futuristic Hololens. Aul called OneCore "the heart of Windows."
Today's Insider release resumption came five weeks after Microsoft shipped the first upgrade to Windows 10 -- tagged both as build 10586 and as 1511, the latter a designation in yymm format that future upgrades will follow -- last month. The no-new-builds interval was two weeks longer than the one in August, when Microsoft resumed Insider releases after the OS's July 29 launch.
Aul also promised that Microsoft would accelerate the release tempo to Insider testers next month. "We are re-evaluating the ring promotion criteria to allow more builds to reach Windows Insiders," Aul wrote. "The new criteria will be much closer to our criteria for flighting to our internal rings, which means more builds will pass it and be released externally to the Fast ring."
He cautioned that with the faster cadence, Insiders should expect more bugs and problems than in the past. "It's a tradeoff -- as the thing that throttles the rate of builds is the promotion criteria," Aul pointed out.
It wasn't the first time that Aul had pledged to quicken the rate at which new Insider builds appear. In March, Aul said much the same after Microsoft went almost eight weeks between new code. "We're debating right now about whether we should simply adjust the speed/risk balance of the Fast ring or whether we should create a new ring for people who really want the fastest pace possible," Aul said then.
"Rings" are Microsoft terminology for the different release tracks available to Insiders.
In August, Aul essentially repeated the March vow, saying at the time that, "We're also evaluating the Windows Insider rings, and considering whether we should make changes there."
The faster pace Aul promised in March did materialize: The average interval between builds was cut in half compared to the lethargic rate prior. But even that wasn't enough to satisfy everyone. "One of the things that I have heard many times from Insiders in the Fast ring is that they want to see a faster pace of build availability," Aul acknowledged today.
Aul also noted that Microsoft would stop publishing the list of known problems in each Insider build on the company's website, instead dropping them into the Insider-specific Hub app, which the company uses to keep testers in the loop.
Among the issues with 11082 was one that resets the default file type associations, which will impact anyone who had changed the original settings to, say, launch a different player app when opening a video or audio file.