Windows 11 Beta released: How to download and update, and why to wait

Right up against the weekend here in late July, 2021, Microsoft released the first official Beta for Windows 11. This release is available to anyone who wishes to join the Windows Insiders program, and the software can be found in the Windows Beta Channel right this minute. As it is with any pre-release software, it's important to run this update ONLY on a machine that does not contain any important data.

Before you go any further, take "Chat from Microsoft Teams" as an example of a reason why you might not want to run this software on your primary work machine. If you need access to Chat from Microsoft Teams, you will be in a bit of a mess if you try to run Windows 11 in the Beta Channel right now. Per Microsoft, "Insiders in the Beta Channel will not have Chat from Microsoft Teams." Microsoft added that they will be "looking to enable this for the Beta Channel in the coming weeks."

If you've only ever used the version of Windows that came with your PC and have never experienced an operating system in action before it's been put through the test ringer, both behind-the-scenes and with public testing, you might want to think twice before downloading Windows 11 now. It's a fun, entertaining, and/or for some people an essential experience, using the newest version of Windows (with Windows 11) as soon as it's available.

But Beta software is, by its nature, not quite ready for the public. It hasn't been completely tested, top to bottom, to a degree that Microsoft is comfortable with releasing it to everyday users, business users, and everyone else they consider a customer. This release is for intrepid users who wish to contribute their time and effort to Microsoft in testing Windows 11, without any sort of monetary compensation in return.

On the other hand, if you've already been using Windows 11 in the Dev Channel, you might now want to switch to the Beta Channel. If you've been wanting some "more stabilized builds of Windows 11" while Microsoft inches ever closer to the first public release of the operating system, the Beta Channel is your best bet.

If you would like to try the Windows 11 Insider Preview 22000.100, also known as the first Windows 11 Beta in the Beta Channel for Windows Insiders, by all means drop in and give it a click. To begin, head to your Windows machine's Settings – Update & Security – Windows Insider Program. There you'll find "Pick your Insider settings" and the ability to switch to the Beta Channel.

If you've not yet joined the Windows Insider program, you can do so through the Register for the Windows Insider Program page at Microsoft's "Insider" portal. Take a peek at the timeline of stories below for more information on what's coming.