To Flight Or Not To Flight

Hello Windows Insiders!

As you have no doubt noticed, it has been a couple weeks since we released a new flight to the Fast ring. We know this has been disappointing and we’re right there with you. We don’t like it either! I wanted to take a moment and highlight the bugs we’ve hit and why we made the decision not to send the builds out to you.

Build 16262

Two weeks ago while testing this build candidate internally, we hit a bug that we originally thought was fairly small in scope. It initially appeared to affect printing from the Photos application and was being investigated for a few other scenarios. When trying to initiate a print job, the dialogue box to customize the print settings would not display properly. We know a lot of folks use this app, but a bug of this type wouldn’t normally stop us from sending a build to the Fast ring. We logged it and put it on the known issues list for the flight and were planning to move forward. As we gathered more data from testing in the Selfhost ring internally, we found that this bug was much larger in scope. (This is why adoption is important and we have ring promotion criteria to find bugs before we share builds externally!). It turns out this bug affected an entire class of functionality and would potentially impact nearly 40% of users in various ways (printing, adjusting settings, pairing Bluetooth devices, etc.). Once the scale of the bug was fully understood, the decision to waive off the flight was made.

Build 16267

Waiving off on Build 16267 was a tough call! During testing we found a bug that was causing an install failure and rollback during deployment. PCs would boot into the offline phase to begin the install and during the process, users would hit a blue screen failure. The affected PCs would roll back to their current build successfully, but this experience was semi-broad in scale. Some users were able to retry the install and it would succeed, but the secondary attempt success rate wasn’t high enough to consider this a proper workaround. And while this bug didn’t leave any PC in a bad/unusable state, it’s tough for Insiders to explore and provide feedback on a new build if it can’t be installed! We let this build stay in our internal Selfhost ring an extra day and after reviewing the data, we had our confirmation: the impact of this bug simply wouldn’t allow for the build to be shared externally.

Waiving off a flight is rarely an easy decision. The scale of a bug may make it obvious that we won’t share a build externally, but that doesn’t mean we’re happy about it! We are just as eager to show off our latest and greatest builds with Windows Insiders as you all are to receive them and see what’s new. We don’t like having to announce “no builds this week”, but this is why we test internally to try and catch as many bugs as possible. We have flight rings for a reason! Your feedback and insights are immensely appreciated and we want to ensure that you have a great experience while you check out the new builds. As we have always done, we will continue to test and validate build quality internally before releasing any preview builds. It is our goal for Windows to be a great experience for everyone, Windows Insiders included.

Even though we’ve had to say “no builds this week” for the past few weeks, we hope to be back on track next week with a new flight to share with you. Stay tuned to the Feedback Hub for build release announcements as well as to the @WindowsInsider handle on Twitter. We’ll post updates and keep you informed of our progress towards the next flight.

Thank you as always!

- Jason