Because no devices running Windows 10 went on sale after Microsoft announced its consumer-facing features on Wednesday, it’s hard to tell if it’s going to be a hit in stores. But Microsoft certainly generated some excitement with its unveiling: engineer Gabriel Aul tweeted Thursday night that more than 170,000 people had signed up for the Windows Insider beta testing program since the event.
— Gabriel Aul (@GabeAul) January 23, 2015
Microsoft previously announced that it had seen 1.7 million people sign up for Windows Insider on Wednesday since the program launched last September.
Windows Insider is a important part of Microsoft’s strategy for Windows 10. It provides [company]Microsoft[/company] with feedback on which of its new features are winners and helps squash bugs. It also lets Microsoft engage directly with its most committed users.
As with a smartphone flash sale, it’s logical to assume that people who beta test new versions of Windows will feel more invested in the platform and be more likely to evangelize for it — which is key to CEO Satya Nadella’s stated mission of moving people from “needing Windows to choosing Windows to loving Windows.”
The version of Windows 10 for desktops revealed on Wednesday — with new Cortana integration, a smartphone-style notifications pane, and the Xbox app — hasn’t been pushed out to users in the Windows Insider program yet, but Microsoft promises to release the January preview “in the next week.” You can sign up here. If you’d like to try out Windows 10 for phones, you’ll need the Phone Insider app, and Microsoft promises you’ll get your shot in February.