Microsoft makes Windows 10 21H2 and Windows 11 previews available for commercial testing

Microsoft is making previews of both Windows 10 21H2 and Windows 11 available to business customers for testing and validation ahead of their fall launches. Here's how to test these now.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor
Credit: Microsoft

In anticipation of the fall releases of both Windows 10 21H2 and Windows 11, Microsoft is making commercial previews of both operating systems releases available to businesses for testing through the Windows Insider Program for Business. Organizations enrolled in that program can access these OS builds through Windows Update, Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), Azure Marketplace and the Windows Insider Program ISO download page as of today, September 2.

Microsoft is providing free support for businesses who want to test and validate these builds so companies can make sure of a smooth rollout ahead of general availability. Microsoft plans to make Windows 11 generally available between October 5 and mid-2022. Officials haven't provided a release date for Windows 10 21H2, but it's likely around October 2021.

Officials said commercial devices in the Windows Insider Release Preview Channel will automatically be offered Windows 11 as an optional upgrade via Windows Update or a Windows Update for Business policy. Only devices that meet the Windows 11 hardware requirements and which have the September 1, 2021, optional cumulative update KB5005101 installed will get Windows 11 this way.

Users who don't want particular devices to go to Windows 11 will be able to select "Stay on Windows 10 for now" when offered the release. By doing this, they will see the option to install Windows 10 21H2 instead. In addition, any commercial devices in the Release Preview Channel that don't meet the necessary Windows 11 hardware requirements also will have the option to go to Windows 10 21H2 automatically instead.

"Both previews are completely optional," officials noted. "You can choose to remain on your current version of Windows and continue to receive preview builds of quality updates for that version."

Windows 10 21H2 won't offer many new features when it ships later this year. Microsoft officials said the Windows 10 21H2 features will include:

  • WPA3 H2E standards support for enhanced Wi-Fi security 
  • Windows Hello for Business support for 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 

Microsoft began testing Windows 10 21H2 with Insiders in mid-July.

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