Windows Insider Program Is Going Pro

Microsoft is planning to add new features and capabilities aimed at IT professionals to the early-access program.

Windows 10

Microsoft is making some tweaks to Windows Insider over the next few months, bringing the Windows 10 testing and feedback program more in line with the way IT workers evaluate software.

"You've told us you want better support when you to run Insider builds within your organization," wrote Bill Karagounis, director of program management at Microsoft Windows Insider Program and OS Fundamentals, in a blog post. "Among the changes that we have planned are tools to allow you to participate in the Windows Insider Program with corporate credentials and a way to recognize feedback submitted by others in your organization."

Microsoft is also working on new community features for IT experts and investigating ways of making it easier to run and test preview builds in business settings, Karagounis added.

By offering access to prerelease builds to Insiders, program participants helped nudge Microsoft toward more user-friendly design decisions in last year's Anniversary Update for Windows 10, a tradition that continues into the upcoming Creators Update. Bringing more IT practitioners into the fold could shine a spotlight on their issues, concerns and priorities, potentially driving Windows 10 adoption in the enterprise if they are addressed.

"Incorporating the Windows Insider Program for IT Professionals into your deployment plans enables you to prepare your organization for Windows 10, to deploy new services and tools more quickly, to secure your applications, to increase productivity giving you confidence in the stability of your environment," stated the program's preregistration webpage. Instructions on incorporating the current Windows Insider program into an enterprise environment, or blocking it outright, are available in this online support document.

In the meantime, Insiders can try some of the newest features Microsoft is adding to the Creators Update.

Released last week, Windows 10 Insider preview build 15031 includes a picture-in-picture mode, of sorts. Universal Windows Apps (UWA) developers can use the new compact overlay mode feature to position shrunken versions of their apps on the corner of a screen, above other running applications.

"The best part is that compact overlay windows work just like normal windows in all other ways so app developers can tailor the experience with what they already know," said Dona Sarkar, head of the Windows Insider program, in a Feb. 8 announcement. Soon, Microsoft's own Skype preview app and Movies & TV app will support the compact overlay mode, offering users another multitasking option as they conduct video chats or catch up on their TV shows.

To enhance security, users can now enable Windows 10's Dynamic Lock technology. It automatically locks a PC when a user steps away from it by detecting a Bluetooth-paired phone. Thirty seconds after the phone strays out of range, Windows shuts down the screen and locks the PC. Also new is improved full-screen support in the Windows Game Bar screenshot and video-capture tool for dozens of popular games and a redesigned sharing icon.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...