So, did you prepare your systems for Redstone 3 this week as it was recommended by Microsoft's Dona Sarkar?

After the hectic pace of activity over the last few days which included the public availability, albeit early, of the Windows 10 Creators Update, I imagine it would be easy for that prep work to slide to later in the week or to the weekend.

I mean no one in their right mind would be expecting a release from the brand new Redstone 3 development branch before the Creators Update was officially available on the 11th of April - right?

Right?

Well think again as even yours truly was caught off guard today by the Windows Insider team at Microsoft pushing out the first Redstone 3 build, 16170, from the new development branch they have started as work begins on the second major feature update of 2017 for Windows 10.

In the midst of all of our Windows 10 Creators Update installs/upgrades via the Media Creation Tool and Update Assistant plus starting to use some of the new features in the Creators Update - there is the Windows Insider team sitting in a room on the Redmond Campus plotting the beginning of the public testing of Redstone 3.

You all know that we have kept trackers for the testing build releases over the last two development cycles of Windows 10 feature updates - Anniversary Update (Version 1607) and November Update (Version 1511). Those have allowed us to track various trends and so I had to go back and look at the transition between Windows 10 releases and the first testing build release to see how unprecedented today's release is in the program.

-- Windows 10 Initial Release (Build 10240) was available on 29 July 2015 and the first Windows 10 November Update testing build 10525 was released on 18 August 2015. That is a 21 day gap between these releases.

-- Windows 10 November Update (Build 10586) was available on 12 November 2015 and the first Windows 10 Anniversary Update testing build 11082 was released on 16 December 2015. That is a 34 day gap between these releases.

-- Windows 10 Anniversary Update (Build 14393) was available on 02 August 2016 and the first Windows 10 Creators Update testing build 14901 was released on 11 August 2016.  That is a nine day gap between these releases.

-- The Windows 10 Creators Update (Build 15063) was available on 05 April 2017 and the first Windows 10 Redstone 3 testing build 16170 was released on 07 April 2017. That is a two day gap between these releases.

It is pretty amazing to see the work that the engineers and developers in the Windows and Devices Group have put in since the start of the Windows Insider Program in October 2014 to make this process work so efficiently.

In the past it was always a given that Microsoft internally begins work on the next version of their operating system while the next version/update is being finalized however, now its 10 million plus Windows Insiders can put their hands on these early test builds almost as quickly and now even before the official release of the last update.

By the way, do not expect any major changes in these initial Redstone 3 builds because most of the work is focused on preparing OneCore so developers can check in code for future updates, bug fixes, and new features.

So strap in and get ready for the ride that will be Redstone 3 and its ultimate release sometime this fall. We will be there right alongside of you tracking both the PC and Mobile build releases as they are made available. This cycle we will be tracking a few other pieces of information along the way. Our Redstone 3 PC Tracker is now live with Build 16170 listed and when the first Mobile build for Redstone 3 is released we will then activate our Mobile tracker.

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