Faulty Windows Insider Build soft-bricks smartphones

June 2, 2017 | 10:23

Tags: #brick #bug #dona-sarkar #quality-assurance #quality-control #testing #windows #windows-10 #windows-insider

Companies: #microsoft

Microsoft has warned members of its Windows Insider programme not to install the latest build, version number 16212, after it was sent live by mistake with extant bugs capable of soft-bricking mobile devices upon installation.

Launched as a means of allowing end users to beta test feature updates before they are released to the general public, the Windows Insider program splits its releases into four tiers: The Fast Ring has the most frequent and bleeding-edge updates, the Slow Ring more rigorously tested updates, the Release Preview Ring has updates which are theoretically feature-complete and ready for release, and the Production ring has fully-tested and ready-to-deploy updates only. At least, so the theory goes.

Late last night, however, Microsoft accidentally released an update long before it was ready and, embarrassingly, offered the buggy build to members of all four Rings, albeit briefly. 'We wanted to release something to you all this week, but the newer builds have WAY too many bugs to pass our selfhost bar,' explained Windows Insider lead Dona Sarkar on her Twitter account shortly before the build in question went live, before following up an hour later with the warning: '#WindowsInsiders: pls do not install any builds being offered til you hear from us with a blog post. If you have installed, reset with WDRT [Windows Device Recovery Tool].'

Those who installed the faulty Windows 10 Build 16212 update on mobile devices quickly discovered the reason for the warning: The build sends mobile devices into a boot-loop, requiring that they are recovered using the WDRT utility and rolled back to an earlier release. Build 16212 was also rolled out to desktop-class devices, though no boot-loop resulted.

Although Sarkar has attempted to downplay the severity of the issue - to be clear, this was not installable by the "public"--also a VERY small percentage of people were even offered,' she Tweeted in response to Twitter commentary on the matter - to have released a soft-bricking update to Windows Insider members is an embarrassing failure of the company's roll-out process and doubly so when it affected all four Rings rather than the unstable Fast ring alone.

For now, Build 16212 has been removed from the Insider programme, and anyone who has installed it - on desktop or mobile - is advised to roll back to an earlier build.
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