Tip: Install Windows 10 Version 21H1 Right Now

Posted on May 1, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 47 Comments

Microsoft revealed this week that it has finalized Windows 10 version 21H1 and will soon begin deploying it to customers. But you don’t need to wait: You can install it right now.

And while upgrading early some previous versions of Windows 10 could potentially be painful or unreliable, I don’t believe that will be the case with version 21H1: Like versions 1909, 2004, and 20H2 before it, Windows 10 version 21H2 isn’t a “real” Feature Update. Instead, it’s built on the same code base as 20H2 and is just a minor revision with few new features. Plus, if you’re already using 2004, it’s delivered as a cumulative update, so the entire process will take well under 30 minutes.

Undaunted? Here’s what you need to do.

Open Settings (WINKEY + I)  and navigate to Update & Security > Windows Insider Program.

Click the Get started button. When prompted, choose the Microsoft account to use.

Choose “Release Preview Channel” and then click the Confirm button. Then, click Confirm again and restart the PC when prompted.

When the PC reboots, navigate to Update & Security > Windows Update and click the Check for updates button. You will see that the “Feature update to Windows 10, version 21H1” is offered as an optional install. Install any pending updates first. Then, click “Download and install.”

The feature update will download and install. If you are already using Windows 10 version 2004, this process will take just a few minutes because, again, this isn’t a real Feature Update. Click Restart now when prompted.

When the PC reboots, you will see that you are now using Windows 10 version 21H1. This can be seen in About Windows (winver) or in Settings > System > About.

Now, you need to unenroll the PC from the Windows Insider Program: Open Settings and navigate to Update & Security > Windows Insider Program. Enable the option “Stop getting preview builds.” You will continue to get serving updates on the normal schedule going forward.

That’s it, you’re done.

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Comments (47)

47 responses to “Tip: Install Windows 10 Version 21H1 Right Now”

  1. sherlockholmes

    I just did that yesterday. Its even easier. Just download Update KB5000736 as a standalone Update and you have 21H1 enabled.
  2. chriscarstens

    Only reason to update now — be the first to find out what it breaks.

    • Paul Thurrott

      Reason? Why did you climb the mountain. Because it was there. Why did you, as a Windows enthusiast, install the next Windows version early? Same thing.
  3. paul888

    Just went to Windows update, checked for updates and 2021-04 was offered as optional update, so I did it. May 2
  4. reedmm

    Need help. New HP stream laptop with WIN 10 S which I changed to HOME. Pinch Zoom is screwing up -resolution moves in and out up to 500% and down to 30%. Microsoft Support has tried 3 times to fix it, including downloading drivers from HP. Can't find the instructions to fix it in the software. Will updating the new patch fix it?
    • agret

      If you go into classic control panel and then mouse sometimes there is an extra tab added by the driver where you can disable pinch zoom gesture. On some newer devices you need to go through the start menu and find the modern app for your device that lets you disable the gestures.
  5. cnc123

    Have we desegregated the comments? I feel like a back passenger in Snowpiercer!
  6. ghostrider

    Ok, that absolute last thing you want to do is to install this on release, let alone on preview. What you *should* be doing very soon is deferring all updates for as long as possible - as has been proven time and again, it does not pay to be an early adopter of Windows 10 updates - certainly not unless you like doing fresh installations on a regular basis!
  7. omen_20

    I hope they one day fix audio in Windows 10. I've had two laptops now that when plugging in headphones will just refuse to see them and keep playing through the laptop speakers. This is something that has never happened even once on any Android phone I've had. It never happened back in the day with my PSP. My DS4 switches the audio every time I try for my PS4.

    A $2k laptop just doesn't feel as sophisticated when it is plagued by such simple issues, due to Windows. I'm locked in at work, but I will probably never buy a Windows device for home use again.

    • oscar90

      Sorry but your post reeks of trolling. I have never encountered that Windows 10 doesnt discover headphones despite being a extensive audio user on that platform.

      Audio on Windows doesnt have to "fixed" beacuse the problem you describe doesnt exist.

      • omen_20

        You're delusional. Windows 10 has had this issue for years. The work laptop I had before the current one did the same thing. That one would pop up a dialog anytime headphones were plugged in, if you didn't see the dialog, Windows didn't see your headphones. The new i9 Precision laptop I'm using now doesn't do the dialog, but has similar issues. That's wired audio though and pales in comparison to all the complaints Windows has when dealing with Bluetooth.

        Then there's the update failures. My last laptop was updated to 2004. The current one won't get past 1909. It kept failing to install 2004, and now it fails with 20H2.

      • Paul Thurrott

        Someone complaining about a problem they have experienced is not "trolling." But there should be a word for people who downplay or even deny problems that they haven't experienced. For example, when I severed my ACL playing basketball the first time, my father told me to "walk it off." So I took myself to a doctor and found out it was serious.
    • jamJAR

      I had that issue with a desktop computer years ago, just remove (and tick the box to delete) the manufacturers drivers and let windows install it's own drivers from windows update.

    • zamroni111

      never install latest windows version in order not to be "beta tester"

      defer the feature updates for a year without blocking security update:


  8. Jim Lewis

    Worked for me. Thanks for letting us know when the Release Preview time window is available.

  9. driftdee

    I followed every step and i don't have the option to update. there IS no 21H1 update for me.
  10. sherlockholmes

    And Thank God indeed: I didnt get the stupid news feed taskbar feature with my Enterprise E3 version.
  11. doon

    Thanks for the tip. Painless install.
  12. winner

    Whoa! New comment system! Nice! Microsoft needs to fix their vocabulary. After all, Windows 10 is the "last version of Windows". But then this article says that 20H1 is a "new version" of Windows. So 20H1 is a new *version* of the *last version* of Windows. This of course is contradictory and makes no sense. Which is consistent with Microsoft's overall approach to explaining things....
    • hrlngrv

      | makes no sense You haven't read enough Lewis Carroll. For MSFT, words mean what MSFT wants them to mean at a given instant and no more.
    • hrlngrv

      | makes no sense You haven't read enough Lewis Carroll. For MSFT, words mean what MSFT wants them to mean at a given instant and no more.
    • JH_Radio

      hey, you can post a reply to a particular person now accessibly with JAWS (which is my screen reader) using Edge which I couldn't do before. Also, the post comment appears as an actual button, so yeah its better this way. Major! Thanks for this! There had been times in the past when I'd try to hit space or enter on post comment and it would not post. This is no longer a problem, so again thanks!
  13. Usman

    Installed 21H1, still don't have 'News and Interests' yet
  14. pmeinl

    A previous 20H2 update had just yesterday destroyed the search in the Windows Menu (searching for Apps I mean). Updating to 21H1 fixed this for me.
  15. nanny6512

    Can i download this if i still use windows 7
  16. megskelly37

    I hope this works attempting to install. I have tried everything including a clean install of windows and been trying to fix this for about 4days now. This is the farthest I have gotten I very much appreciate this workaround

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