The company’s Insider program is designed to give users and companies a chance to test new builds of the Windows 10 operating system before they become available on the stable channel, and to provide Microsoft with data that it can use to fix or modify features.
Insiders can upgrade to the next build whenever it becomes available. All Insider Builds have an expiration date associated with them after which the copy expires.
The concept is not entirely new though. Last year, Microsoft announced that it would block old Windows Insider versions from booting.
Microsoft handles the expiration of licenses differently on retail versions of Windows. This involves usually a black desktop background, a notification, and reboots every hour.
This does not mean that the operating system cannot be used anymore though. Microsoft plans to change that however.
Microsoft’s Windows 10 Kill Switch
Microsoft won’t kill Windows 10 Insider Builds the moment they expire. The company will use a tiered approach for that to give users and administrators ample time to upgrade to a new version of Windows 10.
The process has the following steps:
- September 15, 2016: Build expiration notifications are displayed on “really old Insider Preview builds”.
- October 1, 2016: PCs running these old builds will reboot every three hours automatically.
- October 15, 2016: The kill switch is activated. PCs will stop booting to the Insider build version of Windows 10.
You can check the expiration date of your version of Windows in the following way:
- Tap on the Windows-key, type winver, and hit the Enter-key.
- If you are running an Insider build, the window that opens should list an expiration date.
If you run the operation on the most recent Insider Build, released on September 14, 2016 at the time of writing, you should get an expiration date of May 2, 2017.
Microsoft notes that the new way of handling build expiration does not apply to Slow ring and Release Preview ring devices.
If your PC is running the Windows 10 Anniversary Update (Build 14393) in the Slow and Release Preview rings today â€“ this does not apply to you and you will not be notified of your build expiring.
You may update the Insider Build version at any time by selecting Settings > Update & security > Windows Update.
If that does not work, or if you prefer to install using ISO images, head over to the Advanced download page for Windows Insiders. There you find listed editions that you can download instead to update to recent versions. Please note that the page may not list the most recent version, but will do so eventually.
The kill switch renders the Insider build version useless on the computer. Microsoft failed to reveal options to restore functionality to that build in the blog post.
The most likely scenario is that you need to download an ISO image and install newer builds using it.
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