Tony had a good question, “Do you think it is risky to beta test any new operating system?” I found this interesting in light of the fact that millions of people are beta testing Windows 10 with the Windows 10 Technical Preview.
The answer is yes and no.
If you’re previewing the latest version of Windows, Mac OS, iOS or Android, it’s unlikely to blow up your computer. By the time something reaches the beta-test stage it’s fairly stable.
But would I install Windows 10 Technical preview on my only computer as my only operating system? Not on your life, and it’s not even recommended by Microsoft.
I installed Windows 10 as part of a dual boot on a Windows 7 computer. You could also install it as part of a virtual machine, but it would likely run slower that you might like. The best-case scenario would be if you had an extra laptop or PC that you could afford to risk a little bugginess with.
When you agree to be part of a beta test or any kind of preview, you have to accept that there are going to be bugs and times when that operating system or app doesn’t work the way it should. You also have to be prepared for constant updates.
It’s your responsibility as a beta tester to not only make sure those updates get installed, but to report any issues you have with the program to the developer. In the case of Windows 10, I’ve probably installed a whole new operating system 10 times if you count all the updates. And sometimes, these updates pretty much reset all of the custom settings.
If I were dependent strictly on that Windows 10 computer for my everyday work, it could get frustrating with all the updates.
If you plan to participate in a beta test, I’d suggest making sure you have all of your important data backed up. I’d also suggest running the operating system as part of a virtual machine, in a dual-boot or on a computer that you don’t absolutely need to access at all times.
On the positive side, it’s fun to get a preview of a new operating system and great to actually have some input on the final product. In the case of Windows 10, Microsoft hopes that having a wide cross-section of individuals participating and giving feedback will prevent them from another Windows 8.
While the small group that tested 8 was okay with the metro/modern interface, it was not well-received by the public.