Introducing the next feature update to Windows 10, version 21H1

This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: Windows Blog.

Today, 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 and why for the first time an H1 (first half of the calendar year) feature update release will be delivered in an optimized way using servicing technology, while continuing our semi-annual feature update cadence. In today’s blog I will cover details on how we plan to service the release, its scope, and next steps.

Fast and focused

Based on feedback and learnings during the past year of extensive remote work, learning and play, version 21H1 will be delivered with servicing technology (like that used for the monthly update process and how 20H2 was delivered).  Windows 10, version 21H1 will have a scoped set of features improving security, remote access and quality. 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. So, we optimized this release to support our customers’ most pressing needs. New features include multicamera support for Windows Hello and security related performance improvements.
  • Windows Hello multicamera support to set the default as the external camera when both external and internal Windows Hello cameras are present.
  • Windows Defender Application Guard performance improvements including optimizing document opening scenario times.
  • Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Group Policy Service (GPSVC) updating performance improvement to support remote work scenarios.
Customers running either Windows 10, version 2004 or version 20H2 who choose to update to the new release will have a fast installation experience because the update will install like a monthly update.  For consumer or commercial users coming from versions of Windows 10 earlier than the May 2020 Update (version 2004), the process of updating to the new release will be the same as it has been and will work in a similar manner to previous Windows 10 feature updates, using the same tools and processes. As this Windows 10 release is targeted for the first half of 2021, all Windows 10 editions of version 21H1 will receive 18 months of servicing.

Next steps

Our multilayered approach to the development and launch of feature updates continues and includes fully leveraging the Windows Insider Program to obtain user feedback and data insights on quality. We will begin releasing 21H1 builds to Windows Insiders in the Beta channel today to those Insiders who seek to opt in, and new features will be offered in future Windows Insider Preview Builds as they are ready.  Broad availability of Windows 10, version 21H1 will begin later in the first half of this calendar year, and we will provide more information on the release and how to get it as we get closer to the launch of this next feature update. We look forward to hearing your feedback. Editor’s note – Feb. 17, 2021 – The bullet point on Windows Hello multicamera support was updated for clarity.

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