Testing Approach as a Windows Insider -Part 3
So I have been discussing my methodology on being a #WindowsInsider and how my approach to testing can have a real effect on the way that you go through each build and how you review each new item to be tested. Previously in Part1 and Part2 I talked about whether you are casual or serious, rings and Bare metal or upgrading - In Part 3 I am going to talk about x86, x64, and Arm (via Raspberry PI) testing.
This week in testing we had to have the "Build Patrol" come out and save the day. First the build team released one build late Wednesday- Fast ring 18342 followed by a double release Friday! The previous build 18342 was not up to par due to an serious deficit that was corrected by the "Build Patrol" in releasing Fast ring build 18343 as well as a new Skip ahead 18841
The Fast ring Build 18342 had a major problem for some users running listed versions of a specific Intel chipset - For those users with this hardware that flight was a no go! This is a perfect lead-in to why testing different platforms is essential for #WindowsInsiders. There are going to be instances when you need to test a different build of W10 for various reasons.
Why Test x86
One of the reasons for me testing x86 builds - especially #WindowsInsider builds is that I currently deal with businesses (manufacturing & utility) that still have to deal with legacy 16bit applications! Yes, there are some older application that are in production use that interface with specific equipment yet to be cycled out. I have seen business try to keep XP out on the production floor - x86 W10 is a viable option as long as your Hardware vendor supports it - Hardware vendors are limiting support on x86 but you can find it! In the cases where the 16bit application just needs to run, a W10 Virtual machine x86 can be used - Fully supported on your network - you will find lots of supporting software companies (AV and management) still producing current versions of their products! There are also a number of x86 tablets out there that still are being produced - testing x86 is still a real and viable platform!
Within my test lab x86 testing gets a full shakedown with every #WindowsInsider release - If you are not currently testing an x86 Build, ask yourself why not and consider adding it to your routine!
Testing x64 is a nobrainer
If you were running Intel64 Family 6 Model 142 and Intel64 Family 6 Model 158 on build 18342 it wasn't a nobrainer - you were not taking this build, plain and simple! This anomaly is a rare occurrence but it does happen, having a Virtual machine to do some testing on would have been one of your options (Part 4 of my Approach to testing)! My test lab contains multiple physical and virtual deployments to test out every aspect of x64 W10 testing - if you have the resources, yours should as well.
Testing on non Traditional Platforms
As a #WindowsInsider I am an OS junkie, my very first "Insider build" was putting a beta version of Windows NT 3.5 on my work DecStation 5000 (MIPS) - That went terribly wrong but it didn't mean I wasn't going to try, and it also gave me the knack for always trying new hardware and exploring new possibilities. When the opportunity to put a #WindowsInsider build on a new hardware platform I am all in with full gusto - If I tried a MIPS back in the Mid 90's why wouldn't I try an unsupported ARM processor in this day and age! The main thing about being a #WindowsInsider is that you try - we are on the edge of testing things, you will see lots of successes and a few failures - the failures that happen provide an excellent school yard where we learn.
Look at the build team releasing 2 builds this week, they learnt, and learnt quickly that having a build with a major deficit was not ok, they quickly addressed the issue and we got a new build so we could continue testing - Talk about impressive!
Testing on non traditional platforms like x86 or ARM can be extremely exhilarating, fun and stretch your limits technically and in areas you never even knew existed! The Raspberry PI experiment rabbit hole I went down via PI64.WIN really took me back to my roots and while there may be limited use cases - there are use cases and its our job as #WindowsInsiders to help expose and validate them!
Check back soon and look forward to seeing my next post on my testing approach to Physical or virtual testing and by then I should have some faster media to test my PI on with a current #WindowsInsider Build.
For the record, you might not want to do upgrade testing on your Raspberry PI from one Insider build to the next, its just not at that point and may end up leaving you a little green...