Microsoft has confirmed that its latest Windows 10 update, version 21H1, will arrive in the fall of this year, first in a tech community post on Feb. 15 and in a more formal company blog post on Feb. 17. This follows Microsoft’s usual pattern of rolling out two major Windows 10 updates per year, with this one following the latest October 2020 update. (If you’re running Windows 7, you can still download Windows 10 free to get the latest updates.)
While we can expect a few useful new features to arrive this spring, it seems likely that Microsoft is using this smaller update cycle to prepare for a larger Windows 10 UI update, reportedly codenamed Sun Valley, that will be part of Microsoft’s renewed focus in Windows 10 that executives mentioned last year. We won’t know exactly what that means until a larger update is confirmed
What is Windows 10 version 21H1?
Windows 10 version 21H1 will be Microsoft’s latest update to the OS, arriving sometime this fall. These updates often end up being called the April or May update.
Usually, Microsoft releases a larger feature update in the Fall, and a smaller one in the spring. But version 21H1 appears to be a more minor update as well, rather than an overhaul.
What new features will the new update include?
According to Microsoft’s blog post, new Windows 10 features will include:
- Multicamera support for Windows Hello, allowing users to choose an external camera when using high-end displays with integrated cameras.
- Improvements to Windows Defender Application Guard, including optimizing document opening scenario times.
- Improvements to Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Group Policy Service (GPSVC) updating, to support remote work.
“The features we are releasing in this update are focused on the core experiences that customers have told us they’re relying on most right now,” the post said. “So, we optimized this release to support our customers’ most pressing needs.”
According to Digital Trends, the update will also include new icons, updated settings pages and some tweaks to Cortana and the search box experience.
When can I download the new update?
Microsoft said the Windows 10 21H1 update will be available in the first half of the year. A Windows Central report says it will arrive in May, though Microsoft did not confirm this.
In March, Microsoft began rolling out a 21H1 build to Windows Insiders in the Beta program. New features will be offered in future Windows Insider Preview builds as they are ready.
When the update is generally available, it will be the first time an H1 (first half of the calendar year) feature update will be delivered using Microsoft’s servicing technology. That means it’ll arrive the same way that monthly Windows 10 updates do. It’s also the same way the October 2020 update was released. If you’re already running either Windows 10 version 2004 or version 20H2, it’ll be a fast installation process to get the newest update.
When it’s generally available in the fall, you’ll be able to download version 21H1 by going to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update, and clicking Check for Updates. If available, you’ll see Feature update to Windows 10, version 21H1. Click Download and install.