'Windows Insider Lab for Enterprise' Test Program Launches

Windows Insiders can now take part in the company's Windows Insider Lab for Enterprise" (WILE) test network.

The participants join a real network using Azure Active Directory. The network is labeled "Olympia Corp." and provides access to Windows 10 and Office 365 applications (Excel, PowerPoint and Word, etc.). Microsoft came up with this test network as an easier way for users to try Windows 10's Enterprise edition features.

WILE participants get access to Windows 10 Enterprise edition security features such Windows Advanced Threat Protection, Windows Information Protection, Windows Defender Application Guard and Windows Device Guard. Also included is access to virtualization solutions, such as Application Virtualization (App-V) and User Experience Virtualization (U-EV).

WILE participants also get the option to upgrade from Windows 10 Pro to the Windows 10 Enterprise edition operating system, which Microsoft recommends doing in order to access these Enterprise edition features. However, participants won't get to keep the upgraded operating system after the testing period is over. Outside the testing period, users will retain access to the application data that they may have created, but they won't continue to have access to the Office 365 applications.

The WILE program is outlined in this Microsoft FAQ. Participants will get access to sending and receiving e-mails within the Olympia Corp. network, but Microsoft could revoke access at any time. And if users aren't active, Microsoft could deactivate their accounts, the FAQ warns. For instance, users are supposed to complete "quests" under the program to learn about the Windows 10 Enterprise edition features.

WILE Enrollment
People who want to join the WILE test network can only do it at this time by taking a survey that was included in the September Windows Insider newsletter, according to the FAQ. Participants also need to be running a Windows 10 version build that's greater than 16212, according to Microsoft's "Getting Started" document.

Microsoft's FAQ seemed to imply that only current Windows Insider participants who got the September newsletter can join the WILE program. However, there is a URL link to the survey here, which may or may not work for prospective WILE enrollees.

Microsoft's FAQ includes a warning to participants who may have joined the WILE program from an "out-of-box" Windows 10 experience, which is the period of initial Windows 10 setup for brand new machines. Unenrolling from the WILE program in such cases can render the machine "useless" unless it was possible beforehand for a local user to log into the machine, the FAQ warned.

Other Test Programs
In addition to the WILE program, Microsoft provides access to a "Windows 10 virtual labs" portal page for IT pros. From it, IT pros can access virtual machines to test scenarios such as deploying and managing Windows 10, customizing the Start Menu and using Internet Explorer Enterprise Mode for addressing browser compatibility issues.

There's a Windows Insider Program for Business for IT pros, which is designed to get feedback from organizations. It's apparently different from the more general Windows Insider program that anyone can join. However, both of those programs can be used to test early builds of Windows 10, as well as Windows Server 2016.

This week, Microsoft released Windows 10 preview build 16278 of the software development kit, which can be tested with Windows 10 builds 16278 or greater. In addition, Microsoft this week released Windows Server insider preview build 16278 for testing, which is accessible by Windows Insider for Business participants and Windows Insider participants.

The new server build provides access to the smaller Nano Server image using .NET Core 2.0. It also provides access to Shielded Virtual Machines technology to protect Linux workloads. Microsoft also disabled SMB 1 by default in this server test release, among other improvements.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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