Microsoft makes it official: Windows 10 version 21H2 announced
Microsoft plans to release Windows 10 version 21H2, a feature update for the company's Windows 10 operating system, later this year.
The company unveiled Windows 11 earlier this year as the next version of Windows. Customers who run Windows 10 may upgrade to the new version for free, but may also stay on Windows 10, as the operating system will be supported until 2025.
Device owners and administrators have several reasons for staying on Windows 10; some devices may not be compatible with Windows 11, as Microsoft changed the hardware requirements of Windows 11 significantly. Others may prefer Windows 10 over Windows 11, or stay on Windows 10 for a period to let Windows 11 mature a bit before upgrading the systems.
Windows 10 version 21H2 is a smaller feature update that focuses on "productivity, management and security" according to Microsoft.
Three features are highlighted on the Windows Experience Blog:
- Adding WPA3 H2E standards support for enhanced Wi-Fi security
- Windows Hello for Business supports simplified passwordless deployment models for achieving a deploy-to-run state within a few minutes
- GPU compute support in the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) and Azure IoT Edge for Linux on Windows (EFLOW) deployments for machine learning and other compute intensive workflows
Most new features and improvements will focus on Windows 11 going forward. While Windows 10 may receive some love feature-wise, only select features will make their way to the operating system.
Just like the feature updates Windows 10 version 20H2 and 21H1, Windows 10 version 21H2 will install quickly and very similar to monthly cumulative updates. Devices running Windows 10 version 2004 or newer will update quickly to the new operating system version. Upgrades from older versions of Windows 10 will take longer.
Whether Microsoft will release a larger feature update for Windows 10 in the future remains to be seen, but the probability of this happening seems not high.
Home and Pro devices running Windows 10 version 21H2 receive 18 months of updates, Enterprise devices 30 months of updates, as it is the second feature update of the year. Microsoft plans to release a LTSC (Long-Term Servicing Channel) version that is based on version 21H2, which will be supported for five years.
Windows 10 version 21H2 can be tested on devices that have joined the Windows Insider Program.
Microsoft has yet to reveal a release date for Windows 10 version 21H2, but the fourth quarter of 2021 is the most likely target for the release.
Windows 10 administrators have two options this year once Windows 10 version 21H2 and Windows 11 have been released. Stay on Windows 10 and install a future feature update eventually, or upgrade to Windows 11 instead.
The 18 months of support that Windows 10 version 21H2 receives will keep systems running the operating system supported until 2023.
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