Microsoft sets dead date for Insider builds

Testers must upgrade to latest build by Oct. 15 or lose boot privileges

Microsoft will soon pull the plug on older builds of its Windows 10 previews to again force testers to either abandon the program or update to the newest version.

As the company released the latest beta of Windows 10 -- identified as build 14926 -- Microsoft's Insider spokeswoman reminded users that they would start to see on-screen expiration notices.

Testers on the Fast "ring" of the Windows Insider program, who receive more builds at a faster clip than others, will begin seeing expiration notices today. "On October 1, these PCs will start rebooting every 3 hours and then on October 15, these PCs will stop booting all together [sic]," said software engineer Dona Sarkar in a post to a company blog.

The immediate predecessor to Wednesday's build 14926 -- the Aug. 31 build 14915 -- carried the expiration date of Oct. 1 that Sarkar mentioned.

Insiders who want to continue running the earlier releases must upgrade to build 14926; that version will not expire until May 1, 2017.

Microsoft has forced Insiders to update before. In mid-October 2015, the firm killed 11 builds released between Jan. 23 and July 9 of that year. At the time, Microsoft explained the shutoffs as a way to make sure testers and Microsoft did not waste time filing and reviewing bugs that had already been fixed in older previews.

Similar warnings had been issued in April 2015, before the official launch of the operating system.

Users can check the Insider build's expiration date by typing winver.exe in the Windows 10 search bar.

insider expire

Even the second-to-last Insider build -- the one issued Aug. 31 and identified as 14915 -- will drop dead in a month. Testers must update before then to build 14926 or later.

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