Microsoft announced today that Windows 10 version 21H1 can now be validated by its commercial customers before general availability.
I know. What does that even mean?
If I’m reading the Microsoft post correctly, it means that Windows 10 version 21H1 is now available in the Windows Insider Program’s Release Preview channel, one of the final milestones before the public release. This means that commercial customers can now deploy this release to users via Windows Update, Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), or Azure Marketplace, or manually via a downloadable ISO file.
“As previously announced, [Windows 10] version 21H1 will be delivered to devices currently running Windows 10 version 2004 or version 20H2 using an enablement package,” Microsoft’s Aria Carley explains. “This is the same technology we used to update devices from Windows 10, version 2004 to version 20H2. Do you want to see how quickly devices update from version 2004 or 20H2 to version 21H1, and how little downtime is involved? Now you can!”
Windows 10 versions 2004, 20H2, and 21H1 all share “a common core operating system with an identical set of system files,” and when you upgrade to 21H1 from one of those older releases, the few new features it includes are “in an inactive and dormant state” by default. They are enabled via an “enablement package,” which Microsoft describes as a “small, quick-to-install ‘master switch’ that activates the new features.”