On May 18, Microsoft is kicking off the process of rolling out its latest Windows 10 feature update, known as Windows 10 21H1, to mainstream users. For the past several months, 21H1 has been in testing with Windows Insiders.
There is only a handful of new features in Windows 10 21H1, including support for multiple Windows Hello-enabled cameras; Windows Defender Application Guard improvements, and improvements in Windows Management Instrumentation via Group Policy. The new Chromium-based Edge browser also is available as part of today's 21H1 release.
Like Windows 10 2004 and 20H2, Windows 10 21H1 is a minor feature update. For users already running 2004 or 20H2, Windows 10 21H1 will install quickly -- and hopefully, painlessly -- thanks to an enablement package that will activate the new features. As Microsoft officials said recently, 19043 is the "final" build for 21H1, which will be updated regularly with fixes and security updates.
As of today, Windows 10 21H1 will be available to "seekers." This means Windows users who are running "select devices" with Windows 10 2004 or later can proactively seek it out by going to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and checking for updates. Once the update appears, users can select Download and Install. The 21H1 ISO already is available for download.
For anyone running a version older than 2004, the 21H1 update will feel and update like a regular Windows 10 feature update.
As Microsoft has been doing lately with Windows 10 feature updates, it will be throttling the delivery of the 21H1 update, delivering it first to devices where it is likely to have fewer issues. As has been the case recently, Microsoft will likely issue "safeguard holds," designed to prevent the feature update from installing on devices where there are known issues and incompatibilities.
I've asked Microsoft when it will make Windows 10 21H1 available via other normal channels like Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), Windows Update for Business, MSDN, and Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC). Update: Microsoft's blog post says all of these channels will have Windows 10 21H1 as of today, May 18.
So what comes next on the Windows front? There's a Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) version of Windows Server, known as Windows Server 2022, slated to roll out any time now. (Microsoft officials have said it will be out toward the end of the year, but it sounds as if it may come much sooner.)
On the client-side of the house, Microsoft is working on Windows 10 21H2, as far as we know. This release may be getting a fairly major user interface refresh, codenamed "Sun Valley." Windows 10 21H2 is expected to include features and fixes developed during the "Cobalt" engineering semester (which runs from January 2021 to June 2021). Microsoft officials have not spoken publicly yet about what to expect with 21H2 and Sun Valley, but they may do so next month as part of a rumored "What's Next for Windows" virtual event.