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Windows Insider chief confirms that Anniversary Update will roll out in waves globally

Windows Weekly 474: Microsoft's Worldwide Partners Conference
During the latest Windows Weekly broadcast taking place at Microsoft’s annual Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto, new Windows Insider program chief Dona Sarkar took to the stage to talk about all things Windows.

After talking generally about her fashion and leading the world’s largest team of engineers (aka Windows Insiders), she said that lots of cool stuff will be arriving to Windows 10 customers this fall. The comment stemmed from a question provided by Thurrott, who asked if Anniversary Update could be a cumulative update of new features, fixes, and improvements for Insiders, instead of an entire build.

What Thurrott is referring to is that when Microsoft releases a new Windows 10 build to Insiders, it installs like upgrading to a fresh copy of Windows 10, while leaving all files and programs intact. Users seemingly start anew each time, as the build introduces the Insider to the Windows 10 with the same introduction screen that appears when upgrading from Windows 7, 8, or 8.1.

“There are many ways to do it,” she said, referring to releasing Insider updates instead of full builds. ”So we’re trying a lot of different things in-house to see what makes sense for PC versus phone, what makes sense for Fast Ring versus Slow Ring. In terms of what we were working on last week, it was a little bit of that, but also we don’t ship a build unless we know we can upgrade from that build to the next build without any issues.”

After stating that she won’t be responsible for introducing Anniversary Update to Xbox One owners (at least “not right now”), she admitted that Anniversary Update will be unleashed in waves starting August 2. Don’t look so shocked — Microsoft couldn’t possibly introduce this mega-update to hundreds of millions of people in an instant, and instead must release the update in “waves,” just like Google and Apple.

“It’s going take some time,” she admitted. “We’ll start with PC and phone, and it’s going to be a global rollout. It’s going to take time. Everyone’s going to freak out wondering ‘Where’s my update,’ ‘Is it time yet,” and ‘It didn’t come.’ So it’s going to take a little while to roll out to everybody. Xbox and HoloLens… those come at different times since the end device is just separate.”

Thurrott posed an interesting question on whether Windows Insider and Xbox Preview programs will be combined into one entity once Anniversary Update rolls out to both communities. Microsoft is still trying to figure that one out, it seems.

Finally, Sarkar wouldn’t say when the Anniversary Update RTM build is expected to be ready, only that Microsoft will sign off on the final RTM build when the company “feels good about it.” However, she acknowledged that there are still bugs that need to be stomped out before Microsoft gives the final RTM green light.

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