The Windows Insider program started five years ago today – Happy Anniversary!

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While we expect much of Microsoft’s highly-publicized October event to be squarely focused on a cornucopia of hardware announcements from the company, there have been rumors that there may be some time set aside to reference new software coming in the form of Windows Lite or Windows 10 X.

Windows Lite or 10 X, if announced, would presumably sit alongside the company’s longstanding Windows 10 development, and give the growing Windows 10 Insider group and new testing bed for the software evolution of Microsoft.

With that being said, the Windows 10 Insider program celebrates its 5th year of software testing and feedback loop today. On October 1, 2014, Microsoft opened the doors to its Windows 10 Insider Program ahead of the official launch of Windows 10 on July 25, 2015. In many ways, the Windows 10 Insider Program was an evolved version of the Windows 8 beta program.

Despite the super-secretive nature of former president of the Windows division Steven Sinofsky and his crew’s development of Windows 8, there were several betas that were released during the development that allowed interested IT and app developers, access to early features and code, similar to the Windows Insider program.

The Windows 8 beta releases carried through until the release of Windows 8.1 but were seemingly replaced with a new form of public testing that enabled greater levels of communications between users and Windows engineers, officially called the Windows 10 Insider Program.

Since October 1, 2014, millions of developers, IT professionals, gamers and casual users have signed up, participated in interactive events and voice their opinions, helping to shape the current state of Windows 10.

Many would argue that despite its seemingly mutually beneficial nature, it’s been a bumpy five years for both users and the Windows team as feedback filters and multitudes of PC configurations have led to accessibility issues, bugs, bricking, driver support issues, delayed releases and more.

However, as frustrating as being a Windows 10 Insider can be at times, millions continue to participate and Microsoft continues to reach out for feedback.

With the potential of  Windows Lite or Windows X software development path that focuses on the future of desktop computing by potentially shedding much of the Windows 10 legacy UI & UX, being a part of the Windows Insider Program today could mark the beginning of another annually celebrated event.