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With reports that future Windows 11 Dev Channel updates could be unstable for Windows Insiders, you might want to switch to the more stable Beta Channel—or back to the Dev Channel later if you change your mind. Here’s how to do it.

Dev Channel vs. Beta Channel: What’s the Difference?

In the Windows Insider Program, Microsoft describes the Dev Channel as being “for highly technical users,” and that “there will be some rough edges and low stability.” It’s a bleeding-edge release channel for brand new features that haven’t been tested much yet.

In contrast, the Beta Channel delivers more reliable builds that are “validated” by Microsoft, and it’s “ideal for early adopters” who want to try Windows 11 with less risk of crashes, according to Microsoft.

When the Windows 11 Insider Preview first launched in June 2021, Microsoft released the OS only through the Windows Insider Dev Channel. After Windows 11 launched on the Beta channel on July 29, a more stable version became available for people who might want to try it out (although we found the Dev Channel release was very stable to begin with).

How to Switch Between Dev and Beta Channels in Windows 11

First, it’s important to know that the following instructions only apply to Windows 11 installations that are linked up to the Windows Insider program. (At the time of this writing on August 24, 2021, that means all Windows 11 installations—but that won’t always be the case.)

To get started, press Windows+i to open the Settings app. You can also right-click the Start menu and select “Settings” from the list.

When Settings opens, select “Windows Update” in the sidebar.

In Windows Update, click “Windows Insider Program.”

In Windows Insider Program settings, click “Choose your Insider Settings” to expand the menu if necessary.

When the menu drops down, click the circular button beside either “Dev Channel” or “Beta Channel (Recommended)” to select it, depending on your preference.

And that’s all you need to do. The Settings app saves your selection automatically. Close Settings, and from now on, you’ll only get Beta Channel updates.

At any time, you can revisit Settings > Windows Update > Windows Insider Program and choose a different option to switch channels again. Happy testing!

RELATED: How to Get the Windows 11 Preview on Your PC

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Benj Edwards is a former Associate Editor for How-To Geek. Now, he is an AI and Machine Learning Reporter for Ars Technica. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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