Earlier this month, Microsoft expanded the Windows Insider program with a new Canary Channel. It works similarly to the now-dead Skip Ahead Ring, offering enthusiasts early access to the latest platform changes, new features in their infancy, and other technical changes that usually come alongside stability issues, bugs, and no support.
Although the new Canary Channel may sound exciting to Windows enthusiasts (after all, it is great to see the program growing), it has one bitter side effect: your Dev build gets upgraded to Canary automatically and with no downgrade option. Microsoft has made it clear that a clean Windows installation is the only option to go down from Canary to Dev/Beta/Release Preview/Stable. As a result, Microsoft is giving away free USB drives so that users can switch channels without purchasing extra hardware, regardless of how cheap it is.
Microsoft has sent emails with a link to a page where Windows Insiders in need can claim a free USB thumb drive. Only Windows Insiders can participate in the giveaway (you need a unique code from the email to get your free drive) while supplies last. Microsoft notes that the program runs by the “first come-first serve” principle, so act fast if you want a free USB from Microsoft.
Another caveat is that the delivery can take up to 6-8 weeks, which means users in the new Canary Channel will get at least a couple of potentially highly unstable builds. Therefore, purchasing an 8GB USB thumb drive from a local store might be a better option for those discontent with the latest changes. Fortunately, USB thumb drives are extremely cheap, and you can get one for less than $6 for 32GB, $7 for 64GB, and $15 for 128GB.
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