Microsoft’s handling of Windows 10 preview builds is normally a pretty smooth process, aside from the odd installation glitch, but it all went horribly awry yesterday when several test builds which weren’t ready for release were accidentally deployed – and since then, the software giant has been busy explaining itself and apologizing.
So what actually happened here? Microsoft teased the release of some new previews in the near future, and then an unfinished build (16212) was accidentally pushed out to both PCs and smartphones (actually, several different builds were apparently released for mobiles).
Worse still, these rogue builds went to not just all Windows Insiders (fast ring, slow ring, release preview), but also to some non-testers (i.e. those running full versions, providing they'd upgraded to the Creators Update).
As Dona Sarkar, head of the Windows Insider Program at Microsoft, explained: “If you are not a Windows Insider, your device may have seen one of these builds offered. However, these builds will not install on devices that are not joined to the Windows Insider Program (a.k.a. ‘retail’).”
Apparently the unfinished build pushed to PCs contains a number of ‘usability’ issues – more so than normal with a test build – but there are no show-stopping gremlins or anything critical to fret over.
Unfortunately, as for the accidental phone build, Sarkar notes that it won’t install on a user’s device; but if they attempt to install it, really bad things happen – namely the device gets stuck in a reboot loop.
If this has happened to you, then you’ll need to use the Windows Device Recovery Tool to get your smartphone operational again, with instructions provided in Sarkar's blog post. There are also details for PC users on how to roll back their machine to rid themselves of the unfinished build should they want to (although as mentioned, they can simply wait for the next preview build to arrive, as there are no major problems on the PC front).
Sarkar said the errant deployment of builds was soon spotted and blocked, and that these only reached a ‘small portion of folks’ out there. Let’s just hope that whatever bugbear caused this doesn’t see a repeat episode – as things could certainly have been a lot worse for PC users.
In the meantime, Microsoft clarified that it’s not planning to release any new preview builds this week. Sarkar promised that come next week we’ll get an update on the timeframe for the next preview.
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