While we can expect a few nifty new features with the update soon, it seems likely that Microsoft is using this smaller update cycle to prepare for a larger Windows 10 UI update, reportedly codenamed Sun Valley, which 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, but we’ve rounded up some rumors below.
Here’s what we know about Windows 10 version 21H1 so far and what this could mean for the future of the operating system.
What is Windows 10 version 21H1?
Windows 10 version 21H1 will be Microsoft’s latest update to the operating system, probably sometime in May. These updates are often referred to as the April or May update, depending on when they are released.
Typically, Microsoft will release a larger feature update in the spring and a smaller one in the fall. But version 21H1 also appears to be a smaller update, rather than an overhaul.
What new features does the new update include?
According to a February Microsoft blog post, new Windows 10 features include:
- Multiple camera support for Windows Hello, allowing users to select an external camera when using high-quality displays with integrated cameras.
- Improvements to Windows Defender Application Guard, including optimizing document opening scenarios.
- Improvements to updating the Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Group Policy Service (GPSVC) to support remote work.
“The features we’re releasing in this update focus on the core experiences customers have told us they trust most at this time,” the post said. “That’s why we’ve optimized this release to support our customers’ most pressing needs.”
According to Digital Trends, the update also includes 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, although Microsoft has not confirmed it.
In March, Microsoft began rolling out a 21H1 build for Windows Insiders in the beta program and then the Release Preview Channel. New features will be offered in future Windows Insider Preview builds as soon as they are ready.
When the update is generally available, it will be the first time that an H1 feature update (first half of the calendar year) will be delivered using Microsoft’s service technology. That means it arrives the same way as monthly Windows 10 updates. It’s also the same way as theupdate has been released. If you are already using Windows 10 version 2004 or version 20H2, getting the latest update is a quick installation process.
If it’s generally available in the spring, you can download version 21H1 from Settings> Update & Security> Windows Update, and click Check for updates. If available, you will see Feature update to Windows 10, version 21H1. Click Download and install.
What’s this bigger Windows 10 update that could come next?
During an earnings call in October 2020, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said Microsoft is “doubling down” on Windows and PCs and will continue to innovate.
This could take the form of a major OS update to Windows 10 later this year, which, according to a report from Windows Central, would bring a major overhaul to the user interface design. The update, reportedly codenamed Sun Valley, could bring a redesigned Start menu, Action Center, and File Explorer, with a more modern look and new features. Sun Valley is expected to be released around the 2021 holiday season, Windows Central says, but that may change.
Another factor: Microsoft has said that the Windows 10X operating system is designed for dual-screen devices such as theand the , is . A IT site Petri.com said Windows 10X will not launch this year and may never hit the market, although Microsoft declined to comment on this.
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