Microsoft rolls out first Windows 10 21H2 test build

The first Windows 10 21H2 test build is going to some Insiders in the Release Preview Channel. Here's what's in it now and what ultimately will be part of the second Windows 10 feature update coming this fall.

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Credit: Microsoft

As company officials said a couple of weeks ago, Microsoft will be delivering Windows 10's second feature update for 2021, known as Windows 10 21H2, this fall. Today, July 15, Microsoft made available to Insider testers in the Release Preview ring a first test build of this coming update.

Windows 10 21H2, like the last few Windows 10 feature updates, will be a very minor update that will be delivered via an enablement pack that will make it feel almost like a Cumulative Update for anyone installing it on top of the most recent Windows 10 feature update.

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 

Today's first Windows 10 21H2 test build, No. 19044.1147 (KB5004296) is going to Release Preview Channel testers who were moved from the Beta Channel to the Release Preview Channel by Microsoft because their PCs didn't meet the hardware requirements for Windows 11. This build is available to Insiders who qualify who seek it out using Windows Update, which means they need to go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and then download and install 21H2.

The 21H2 features Microsoft called out as being part of 21H2 above are not yet in today's test build. Instead, today's test build includes a number of fixes only.

Once an Insider moves to 21H2, s/he will continue to get 21H2 updates via Windows Update.

Microsoft officials declined to say whether Windows 10 21H2, due this fall, will be the last version of Windows 10. They did reconfirm that Windows 10 will be supported until October 2025, which they first said six years ago. (October 14 is the actual day when support ends.) Officials are not saying yet whether they will offer paid Extended Security Updates (ESUs), as they did with Windows 7, for customers who want and need to stay on Windows 10 for a finite period of time after support ends.