Microsoft announces Windows 10 version 21H1 with security and quality improvements

Windows Update
Windows Update (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has announced the next feature update for Windows 10.
  • It's a minor servicing style release just like 20H2.
  • It'll release as version 21H1 this spring, with Insider testing starting today.

The next version of Windows 10 is now official, and it's coming this spring. Known as version 21H1, this release of Windows 10 will be a minor servicing style update that will sit on top of version 20H2. The release will focus on business orientated features and enhancements, and is rolling out in the Windows Insider Beta Channel today for testing.

21H1 features three notable improvements over 20H2, all of which are most beneficial to business customers. The first notable addition is multi-camera support with Windows Hello, which will allow PCs with build-in Hello capable webcams to use an external Hello peripheral when docked to a larger display.

Windows Defender Application Guard is also getting a handful of performance improvements that will optimize document opening scenario times, and Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) and Group Policy Service is getting support for remote work scenarios.

21H1 will continue the semi-annual feature update release cadence and will be supported for 18 months with servicing updates, just like previous H1 releases of Windows 10.

Build 19043.844 is now available in the Windows Insider Beta Channel for those who wish to begin testing 21H1 today. The update is expected to rollout this Spring, with my sources saying the update is currently targeting a May 2021 rollout.

Microsoft is also currently working on a much larger update for Windows 10, codenamed Sun Valley, that will introduce a rejuvenated UI design, new features, and updated in-box apps. This update is expected to launch at the end of this year as version 21H2, with testing commencing in the Windows Insider Dev Channel over the coming weeks and months.

What are your thoughts on 21H1? Let us know in the comments.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • This sounds like the most pointless/dull update yet. I don't know if it's just me but I miss the 2 big updates a year. Used to be a substantial number of changes every 6 months but very little has changed in Windows in the past 2 and a half years. I know Sun Valley will change this but it's made being an Insider quite boring.
  • I think they just can't keep inventing big new features so to me, this makes sense really... But indeed Insider-life da gotten a bit more bored because of that...
  • There were too many issues with that cadence. I prefer one major update and one minor update per year.
  • I think Windows updates should, and usually do, go with the flow of everything else. COVID-19 has slowed the pace of everything over the past year, so it fits that Windows would be changing at a slower pace now too -- if only for logistical reasons because entire teams are working from home. There hasn't been too much in the way of new & exciting computer engineering advances in the past six months since 20H2 either, so again I think it fits the times. Pre-holidays 2021 sounds like a good time to reveal something with more fanfare. And who knows, maybe we'll have a resurgence of tech by the end of the year so Windows can evolve at a quicker pace in 2022.
  • still using seasons to describe time? when in the 'fall'acy is spring? Antarctica is across the water from me.
  • MULTI-CAMERA SUPPORT FOR WINDOWS HELLO!!!!!!!!!! Finally! Have wanted it for ages. When I docked my surface it would still default to the surface hello camera (even with the keyboard folio closed) and not the one on my monitor. Not docking currently but awesome that they finally added this!
  • Most, if not all of these updates are the equivalent of "kissing your sister". That's OK I guess, just seems like too much hand wavin' IMO. Of course, YMMV.