How to safely test drive Windows 10 Technical Preview

Windows running on Surface with milti-monitor setup

The release of Windows 10 Technical Preview is around the corner, this could happen at the end of September or early October. During a special briefing on September 30th, Microsoft is expected to unveil and talk about the next version of Windows in San Francisco  — hopefully then will know for sure if we’ll have to wait a bit longer.

However no matter when we get the early bits, we’ll have to prepare to safely test drive this new operating system. For starters Windows Technical Preview, is a preview, meaning that it isn’t a finished product, it could be stable enough to run on your PC, but there will be a lot of bugs and a lot of things that might not work properly.

Also Microsoft won’t include all the features in the preview, some changes like the new Start menu, windowed modern apps, and other features are expected to arrive in the preview. Though, the company is planning to release rapid updates to continue improving the operating system and add more features at least twice a month, and it’s possible that Microsoft will add an easy way to update to the latest build without having to completely reinstall the operating system.

With all those details in mind, here are a few tips you should consider to safely test drive Windows Technical Preview:

Using a primary machine

Before downloading the bits, consider NOT to install Windows Threshold in your primary device, like I said, the operating system still a work in progress and things may not work the way you want, bugs, crashes, and other issues are expected.

If you decide to install the Windows 10 preview in your primary machine, for the love of God, make a full backup first. Don’t know how to do this? Don’t worry, I have you covered, check the previous how-to guide to create a full backup of your system.

Also Microsoft will not offer a way to roll back to Windows 8.x from Windows Technical Preview. As such a full backup is the best thing you can do to protect your system and data, when you decide that it’s time to go back to Windows 8.1, just plug your external hard drive and restore from backup, 20 minutes later you’re back in business.

SEE ALSO: Rolling back from Windows Technical Preview won’t be supported

Using a spare PC

Do you have a spare computer? Great! This is the safest way to test drive the Preview. First make sure nothing that you care about is stored in the spare PC, then download the Windows Technical Preview ISO from Microsoft and install.

Using virtualization

If you don’t have a spare computer and you don’t want to risk your main PC, the next best thing you can do is to run a virtual machine. There are various software you can use, but the most popular way to go is using the free available VirtualBox or you can also opt for VMWare Workstation, this is a paid product, but it offers a trial version. Because the next version of Windows is an improvement of Windows 8 and not a re-written operating system from scratch, these previous how-to guides can help you set up your own virtual machine of Windows Technical Preview on VirtualBox or VMWare Workstation.

SEE ALSO: How to install Windows 10 Technical Preview on a virtual machine

Using dual-boot option

Finally, there is a one last option and that is a dual-boot set up. If you don’t want to use your primary machine, you don’t have a spare computer, and you don’t feel comfortable testing the Windows 10 preview on a virtual machine due to the fact that this method doesn’t allow the operating system to fully take advantage of the hardware available in your system. You can try the dual-boot approach to run Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 or any other version of Windows in the same machine.

Now you have five different ways to safely test drive Windows 10 Technical Preview, the question is which one are you going to use? Do you have another way to test a pre-release version of an operating system? Share the information in the comments below.

Update: This article was updated to reflect the new Windows 10 name.