Skip to main content

Microsoft confirms Windows 10 21H1, its first major update for this year

Just one day after rumors indicated a potential announcement, Microsoft has officially revealed the first major update to Windows 10 for this year. Appropriately named Windows 10 21H1, the update is now available for “seekers” in early preview testing in the Beta branch of the Windows Insider program. For everyone else who isn’t a beta tester, Microsoft is targeting a May 2021 rollout via Windows Update.

“We are introducing the next feature update to Windows 10, version 21H1. As people continue to rely on Windows more than ever to work, learn, and have fun, we understand the importance of providing the best possible update experience to help people and organizations stay protected and productive. It is a responsibility we do not take lightly,” said Microsoft.

For most people, Windows 10 21H1 will be a small update. As rumors have long maintained, it is designed with a scoped set of features improving security, remote access, and the overall quality of Windows. Basically, you’ll be getting the 21H1 update on your PC the same way you did last year for the 20H1 update.

There are a lot of smaller changes in this release, just like last year.  Some of the new features in Windows 10 21H1 that have been tested in the Windows Insider program over the past few months include smaller changes to system settings, otherwise known as the “modern settings app.” These range from DNS configurations in the Settings App and Startup App Notifications to Disk Management pages in settings.

According to Microsoft, there are also additions such as multicamera support for Windows Hello and performance improvements for Windows Defender Application Guard. These are some of the most “pressing needs” in Windows, Microsoft noted.

A lot of other improvements for Windows 10 features, such as a redesigned keyboard, are also currently being tested in the other branches of the Windows Insider Program. While Windows Central had previously reported that these could be “backported” into the 21H1 update, this hasn’t been confirmed by Microsoft, however.

This is all part of the sweeping changes introduced by Surface chief Panos Panay, who now also heads the Windows team. All builds coming out of the Beta and Release Preview branches are usually tied to an upcoming Windows release. Dev Channel builds aren’t tied to a specific release, however. We could end up seeing the bigger “Sun Valley” update tested in this branch sometime in the future.

You can sign up to test the 21H1 Update by enrolling your device in the Windows Insider Program. Simply head into Windows Settings, click Update and Security, followed by Windows Insider Program, and then follow the instructions on the screen, making sure to choose the Beta Branch.

Your PC will then reboot, and you’ll need to go back to Windows Update to download the update. Once complete, type winver into Command Prompt to check and see if you have the latest update.

Editors' Recommendations

Arif Bacchus
Arif Bacchus is a native New Yorker and a fan of all things technology. Arif works as a freelance writer at Digital Trends…
The Windows 11 2022 Update could slow down file transfers by 40%
Two windows laptops sit on a wooden table.

Microsoft has acknowledged a new issue regarding computers running the Windows 11 2022 Update (or version 22H2). The problem may cause performance degradation when copying large multi-GB files by up to 40%.

“There is a performance regression in 22H2 when copying larger files from a remote computer down to a Windows 11 computer," explained a blog post by Ned Pyle, the Principal Program Manager from the Windows Server engineering group. "A large (multi-GB file) might see as much as 40% less throughput over SMB when copying down (reading). Copying that same file to a non-22H2 machine (writing) won’t see this problem."

Read more
Why gamers should avoid the Windows 11 2022 update
A man sits, using a laptop running the Windows 11 operating system.

Update: Nvidia contacted us to confirm that it has fixed the problem that was causing issues between its graphics cards and the Windows 11 22H2 update. According to the statement, Nvidia users should update GeForce Experience to version 3.26 BETA, instructions for which can be found on Nvidia's website.

When you update Windows, there’s always a chance something will happen to throw a wrench in the works. This time, though, it seems like the Windows 11 22H2 update is causing major issues for gamers equipped with Nvidia graphics cards.

Read more
Windows 11 2022 Update: the best new features to try out today
Android Apps on Windows 11

Microsoft has announced its first big update to Windows 11, officially named the "Windows 11 2022 Update." It's packed full of features, many of which have been highly anticipated since the initial launch of Windows 11 in 2021.

The annual update touches on a little bit of everything, including user interface, customization, security, accessibility, and even new applications.
Customizable Start Menu

Read more