I have a new series of blog posts coming, and I will start it off with a great initial idea credit to a SharePoint MVP friend of mine @JoanneCKlein. She suggested that as a kick off I address what it means to be a #WindowsInsider - Commitment, what needs to be invested and how to get it started!
With the Christmas holiday coming up maybe you will find yourself with some free time, some hardware that needs refreshing or want to experiment with the latest and greatest features within Windows 10. Becoming a Windows Insider is extremely easy and something I recommend to just about everyone.
1) Commitment to being a #WindowsInsider
Being a #WindowsInsider means that you have to take a computer that you have - Virtual or Phsyical and go through the process of getting an Insider build of Windows 10. Seems like a complex process right? Wrong!! Its pretty simple to do. The simplest scenerio is to take an existing Windows 10 PC or laptop and join the Insider program and update to the newest version as they are published by the Insider Team @ Microsoft. Some details here https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windowsinsiderpreviewadvanced to be explained later - This is where the commitment comes in - you need to get on the Insider bus and keep it going!
When you upgrade a Windows 10 PC to be an insider built, you essentially are dedicating this machine to be on the front line of any Windows developments, if you are not comfortable with dedicating a PC, why not build a VM on that PC, easy to do and is very simple to test with! The machine, once joined to the Insider program will perpetually be upgraded with new builds, which takes some download bandwidth and a little time on your side to make sure the upgrades go. That's the commitment piece!
2) What needs to be Invested to be a #WindowsInsider
With Windows 10 having the same hardware requirements as Windows Vista, finding a compatible machine should be relatively easy. I do recommend putting in an SSD into any old hardware you have to make things go much quicker, and @ $60 bucks for a 240gb the investment is really low with a really high payoff on speed and responsiveness. You should have a machine with at least 2gb of ram, 4 is my bottom number as I feel you need it for a fair evaluation.
If you can't dedicate a full machine, there is a good chance that your hardware you are currently running will support having a VM installed on it. If you are running Windows 10 PRO, to check, go to the Start menu and type msinfo32, which will bring up the System information and this will tell you what version of Windows you have.
With the right processor you can enable virtualization - a great article here walks you right through it https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/canitpro/2015/09/08/step-by-step-enabling-hyper-v-for-use-on-windows-10/
If you are not running Windows 10 Pro, possibly Windows 10 Home, you still have possibilities, you can easily upgrade to Windows 10 Pro (there is a cost $$) or download and install Virtual Machine software, there are lots of commercial or opensource ones. VMWare Workstation and VirtualBox.org are just a couple I have used in the past with great success.
Most new PC/Laptops will support virtualization at the hardware level and the above article talks in detail about how to go about enabling this for your PC. Virtualization is a hardware component within your PC that allows the resources to be shared in such a way that allows you to install multiple operating systems with little or no interaction with your host operating system - You share the CPU, memory, Network and Harddisk but remain completely independant - Licensing all these operating systems, once you get your system running, however is still a requirement! -- But that's why you become a Windows Insider - you get to run a copy of Windows 10 Pro for free - now that's hard to beat!
Now that you know the Commitment and Investment you need to become a #WindowsInsider check my next blog post on how exactly to take your existing Windows 10 PC, or a Blank VM and make it an Insider Build!