How to choose the right Windows 10 preview and update channels

Once upon a time, making a choice about how you updated Windows was easy: Let Microsoft decide. The company had a release cycle, and you went along for the ride.

Those days seem so quaint now. Today there are multiple “channels” to choose from, with complicated nomenclature. Should you update Windows 10 according to the Semi-Annual Channel? Should you opt for the Insider Dev Channel? Or should you simply throw up your hands and do nothing, and let Windows 10 update whenever Windows 10 wants to update?

We feel your pain, and we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll explain how to handle Windows 10 previews and updates and how to choose the right release channel for you.

We’ve divided the piece into two sections, one for individuals and one for IT admins. So hunker down and get ready to master the ins and outs of choosing the best way of handling Windows updates.

This article has been updated for Windows 10 version 20H2, also known as the October 2020 Update. If you have an earlier release of Windows 10, some things might look different.

Individuals: Choosing a Windows 10 preview channel