Dona Sarkar is the new Lord Commander of the Windows Insider Program

By: Madeleine Dean
2 minute read

Just two months before the awaited Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Gabe Aul opted for a more behind-the-scene role, letting Dona Sarkar take over the Windows Insider Program. For the last 18 months, Gabe has been the herald of good news for all Windows 10 builds and updates and the receiving end of many user complaints concerning numerous build issues.

Gabe decided to step down from the Windows Insider Program leadership role in order to better focus on his Engineering Systems Team. He explained he could not give 100% to his main job on the ES and still devote what was required to the Windows Insider Program.

And this program is so important to me that I really want to have the leader spending 100% of their time on it. So the time has come for me to pass the torch to a new leader for the program, and I’m thrilled to introduce you to her today. My attention will turn to being obsessed about our engineers at Microsoft as my “customers of the Engineering System.”

The new leader is a Microsoft veteran who’s waited for 11 years to fill this position. Dona Sarkar has been with Microsoft since the days of Vista, having worked on various projects such as Autoplay along with Bluetooth and Blu-Ray integration in Windows. She is the brain behind the search box in Windows 7’s Start menu, the File Explorer tool, and the Open/Save dialogs.

Microsoft had to choose a person with Dona’s background to take over the leadership role from Gabe. In his tenure, he managed to become an iconic figure due to the Windows 10 builds he introduced and charismatic personality that always gathered many people around his tweets and blog posts. At the same time, Dona is very courageous to accept this position less than two months before the Anniversary Update, with Gabe placing his complete trust in her abilities to fulfill this role:

I have worked with Dona for many years and think she is the perfect person to guide the Windows Insider Program forward. Her technical expertise, passion for customers, and commitment to listening to feedback is unmatched.

She will be responsible for next generation Windows 10’s success, or failure. We hope Dona is as open a person and generous in sharing information as Gabe was.


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