Microsoft last week restarted deliveries of Windows 10 to beta testers, weeks sooner than it has resumed previews in the past.
Windows 10 build 16170 was released Friday to the Insider program's "Fast" track, one of three that testers can select. It was the first for the operating system's next feature upgrade, which Microsoft has promised will debut in 2017 but has not scheduled.
The appearance of build 16170 preceded the launch of Windows 10 Creators Update, also known as 1703 in the company's yymm nomenclature. Creators Update is to begin reaching customers tomorrow through Windows Update, but has been available for manual downloading since April 5.
This was the first time that Microsoft resumed Windows Insider test code before it officially released the previous feature upgrade.
For example, in 2016, Microsoft started shipping 1607, aka Anniversary Update, on Aug. 2, but waited nine days to restart previews. And the year before, Microsoft took three to four weeks to resume beta deliveries after launching the July original (dubbed 1507) and the November follow-up (1511).
While Microsoft has not revealed an appearance date or nicknamed the next feature upgrade, most pundits and analysts expect that the company will deliver one this fall.
In other Windows beta testing news last week, Microsoft opened registration to "Windows Insider Program for Business." The Insider spin-off was designed to entice more corporate customers into test driving the operating system, and reporting bugs in the enterprise-specific features that have gotten short shrift from the program's hobbyist- and enthusiast-heavy participants.