If you’re the kind of power user that simply must live on the bleeding edge of software, then Microsoft would like to reward you. Well, sort of: It wants to send you a free USB drive for trying out the latest “Canary” build of Windows 11, anyway. It’s allotted some 8GB USB drives to members of the Windows Insider program who don’t currently have one, so they can install the operating system fresh as a bootable drive.
If you’re absolutely desperate for $5 worth of PC accessory, you might just want to dig around in your couch cushions instead. Microsoft says that its supplies are limited — and sure to run out quickly, as these things often do — and that shipping might take six to eight weeks. And there’s no way to simply ask for one: You’ll need an email invitation and a verification code, as noted by Beta News.
Perhaps more interesting than the allure of some free hardware is what it indicates for the new Canary channel. “Canary” is developer speak for “the newest features that are likely to break everything,” as in “canary in the coal mine.” If Microsoft is willing to send out a bunch of freebies to users just to get them to try out the latest builds of Windows 11, it might be evidence that there are some very big features in the works. Big enough that Microsoft is willing to spend considerable money to expand its pool of testers.
It’s possible, though certainly not confirmed, that the features and changes in the Canary channel might show up in the next major release of Windows. Windows 12 — or whatever it might be called — could show up as soon as next year, if rumors are to be believed.