Windows 10 November 2021 UpdateSource: Windows Central

Microsoft has just begun the slow rollout of the Windows 10 November 2021 Update (version 21H2) to compatible PCs. This is the update No. 12 after the original release, and it's only a minor update for devices that do not meet the minimum requirements to install Windows 11 or for those not ready to upgrade to the new version.

For devices that are already running the May 2021 Update, October 2020 Update, or May 2020 Update, the Windows 10 October 2021 Update will arrive as an optional install via Windows Update. And it'll apply as a regular monthly update since the device only needs an enablement package to switch versions.

However, laptops or desktops computers still using an older release of Windows 10 will also get the new version as an upgrade. However, the May 2020 Update will install first before installing version 21H2. If the device has a release of Windows nearing the end of service, it will be upgraded automatically. The automatic update usually happens weeks or months after the official release of the new version.

As we have seen in previous releases, the company will be deploying the newest update in stages. Initially, only devices known to have a good upgrade experience will get version 21H2 first. After further testing, the update will expand more broadly, and then it will become fully available.

The update will arrive automatically when it's ready for the device. But it's also possible to force the upgrade manually in at least three ways using the Media Creation Tool, Update Assistant, and Windows Update.

In this Windows 10 guide, we will walk you through the steps to download and install the November 2021 Update on a compatible computer.

How to install Windows 10 November 2021 Update using Windows Update

You can upgrade a device to the November 2021 Update in several ways, but the best method is manually launching the setup from the Windows Update settings.

To install the Windows 10 November 2021 Update using Windows Update, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Click on Windows Update.
  4. If the computer is eligible to run Windows 11, click the Stay on Windows 10 for now option (if applicable).

    Stay on Windows 10 for nowSource: Windows Central

  5. Click the Check for updates button.
  6. Under the Feature Update to Windows 10, version 21H2 section, click the Download and install now button.

    Windows Update download November 2021 UpdateSource: Windows Central

  7. Click the Restart Now button.

Once you complete the steps, the enablement package will download and update any release of Windows 10 equal to or greater than version 2004 to version 21H2 as a regular cumulative update without reinstallation.

If the device is not receiving the option to upgrade, it could be a compatibility problem blocking the new version. In this case, you should not try to force the feature update until the latest version is available for the device.

How to install Windows 10 November 2021 Update using Update Assistant

To upgrade to Windows 10 November 2021 Update using the Update Assistant tool, use these steps:

  1. Open the Microsoft support website.
  2. Click the Update now button to save the tool on the laptop or desktop computer.

    Windows 10 November 2021 Update AssistantSource: Windows Central

  3. Double-click the Windows10Upgrade file to launch the assistant.
  4. Click the Update Now button.

    Windows 10 version 21H1 Update AssistantSource: Windows Central

  5. Click the Next button.
  6. Click the Restart Now button.

After you complete the steps, the tool will download the files and install version 21H2, preserving your files, settings, and apps.

Since version 21H2 is based on version 2004, the Update Assistant is only recommended for devices running an older version like Windows 10 version 1909. If you use the tool on a computer running version 2004, 20H2, or 21H1, the process will do a complete reinstallation, which is unnecessary, and you end up with more upgrade issues.

How to install Windows 10 November 2021 Update using Media Creation Tool

Alternatively, the Media Creation Tool allows you to do an in-place upgrade or clean installation of the November 2021 Update.

Warning: Although the upgrade setup uses a non-destructive process, you should create a temporary full backup of your PC before proceeding, in case something goes wrong and you need to revert to the previous version.

To install the November 2021 Update with the Media Creation Tool, use these steps:

  1. Open the Microsoft support website.
  2. Click the Download tool now button to save the installer on the device.

    Windows 10 version 21H2 Media Creation ToolSource: Windows Central

  3. Double-click the MediaCreationToolxxxx.exe file to begin the in-place upgrade process.
  4. Click the Accept button to agree to the terms.
  5. Select the Upgrade this PC now option.

    Media Creation Tool upgrade to the November 2021 UpdateSource: Windows Central

  6. Click the Accept button again to agree to the licensing terms.
  7. Confirm the Keep personal files and apps option is selected.
  8. Click the Install button.

    Install Windows 10 version 21H2 with Media Creation ToolSource: Windows Central

Once you complete the steps, the Media Creation Tool will upgrade the laptop or desktop computer to the latest release of Windows 10, preserving your files, apps, and settings.

If the update has a problem installing, you should use the Media Creation Tool to make a USB bootable media that you can then use to do clean installation.

When updating to the November 2021 Update, you should only use the Media Creation Tool if the device has the November 2019 Update or older. If the computer uses one of the three more recent Windows 10, you should use the Windows Update settings to update. Otherwise, any of the tools will perform a complete reinstallation, which is unnecessary unless the device is experiencing shutdown, memory, or performance problems.

More Windows resources

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