Microsoft Announces Windows 10 Version 21H2

Posted on July 15, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 27 Comments

Thinking About the Future of UWP, Windows Store, and Windows 10 S (Premium)

Yes, Windows 11 is the new hotness, but Microsoft will still issue another version of Windows 10 this year too. And it’s available now for testers in the Windows Insider Program’s Release Preview channel.

“The next feature update to Windows 10 [is] Windows 10 version 21H2,” Microsoft’s John Cable announced. “Windows continues to play an important role in people’s lives as they continue to work, learn and have fun in hybrid and remote environments. Our goal is to provide new features and functionality via a fast and reliable update experience to help keep people and organizations protected and productive. Version 21H2 will continue the recent feature update trend of being delivered in an optimized way using servicing technology.”

As with the past several Windows 10 versions, Windows 10 version 21H2 is a very minor update, one that will bring only a small “scoped set of features,” in this case related to productivity, management, and security. How small? There are three new features:

WPA3 H2E support. The WPA3 H2E standard provides enhanced Wi-Fi security.

Windows Hello for Business improvements. Windows Hello for Business supports simplified passwordless deployment models for achieving a deploy-to-run state within a few minutes, Microsoft claims.

WSL improvements. The Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is picking up GPU compute for machine learning and other compute-intensive workflows.

Exciting, right? The good news is that this release will be painless for those already running Windows 10 version 2004 or newer; in that case, 21H2 will be delivered like a normal cumulative update. And because it’s an H2 release, Windows 10 Home and Pro will receive 18 months of support, while Enterprise and Education editions will have 30 months of support.

Of course, since this is the Windows Insider Program, there has to be some goofiness. The only people who can test 21H2 are those who were moved to the Release Preview channel from the Beta channel because their PCs did not meet the hardware requirements for Windows 11. Those with PCs that do meet the hardware requirements will soon be getting Windows 11 builds to test.

I assume that Windows 10 version 21H2 will ship alongside Windows 11 in October.

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Comments (27)

27 responses to “Microsoft Announces Windows 10 Version 21H2”

  1. blue77star

    What about AUTO HDR and general HDR fixes?

    • cbruscato

      Auto HDR is only a Windows 11 feature unfortunately, it will not be backported to Windows 10. This is because it is part of DirectX 12 Ultimate that requires Windows 11. The general HDR fixes that were trialed in early versions of 21H2 in the Insider channel were actually being tested for Windows 11, which has new certification settings for displays. Similar to the refreshed icons in those builds, those were only for Windows 11, and the new visual design isn't being backported to Windows 10. They kind of hoodwinked the Insiders, because we were unknowingly testing Windows 11 features on Windows 10 without knowing it, that obviously work on Windows 10 but they have no plans to put into that OS. This lead to a lot of blogs that monitor the Insider builds reporting that these features would be coming to Windows 10 erroneously.

  2. shirish

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  3. ebraiter

    Yup. All the goodies will be in Win 11 and Win 10 users will get the token new features. Maybe they'll claim it is past 5 years - so Win 10 shouldn't be getting any new features.

    They threw that weather/news thing at us in a monthly cumulative update. Surprised they didn't wait until 21H2 as that's when new features are coming out.

  4. bettyblue

    So is this the last version of Windows 10? Nothing but security updates from here on out, until 2025 that is?


    That would be great because I would do a clean install from the ISO, remove a truck load of stuff I do not want and it will never come back :)

  5. chrisrut

    I was, at one time, Project Manager for a small company whose only customers were the computer security branches of friendly nations. Even when PCs were far over the event horizon, passwords were considered the problem, not the solution.


    It gladdens my heart to see "passwordless" systems being realized.

  6. sherlockholmes

    When John Cable announces it it could only be a bad thing :-P

  7. navarac

    I hope that, when the time comes, those with Windows 11 capable machines will be able to refuse it and stay on Windows 10. My attitude to 11 gets worse everyday , finding more emasculated and deprecated items. In other words I have gone from thinking, "well it's really only Windows 10 in a new coat" to thinking now that the "fundamental functionality is being dumbed down even more for people who should be using their fingers and toes to add up, rather than an Abacus!".

  8. RobertJasiek

    "Windows 10 version 21H2 will ship alongside Windows 11 in October."


    Windows 11 might appear in OEM computers in October 2021 but is supposed to be available for everybody in Q1(?) 2022.


    After the two or three prior major updates had not been offered to me at all, 20H2 was only offered to me a few weeks ago. 21H1 is not offered - maybe it will be offered in October 2021. Maybe 21H2 will be offered to me a few days before Windows 11 is supposed to be offered to everybody in 2022. Very great distribution delays of major updates occur due to geography and seemingly arbitrary hardware details.

  9. miamimauler

    "Yes, Windows 11 is the new hotness"


    The only 'hotness' that W11 will generate for most of the hundreds of millions of normal everyday home users is hotness under the collar when their Windows looks different.

    History tells us this how fiercely many home users despise change...especially when it's change for the sake of change and little else.

    • codymesh

      it helps that Windows 11 not only looks different, but more importantly, better

      • bettyblue

        Honest question, how is it better?


        I tried it. It looks different and I had to Google where to find things like task manager but better??? Not in my opinion.

        • lvthunder

          Most normal users don't know task manager exists at all. There are a few things I like better about Windows 11 over 10. So I think 11 is better.

          • bettyblue

            So its better because I can't easily find the task manager after being able to right click on the task bar since Windows 95 and bring it up but now I can't...even though the task bar is still there?


            Wow progress.


            If you go to YouTube, and over to the "Dave's Garage" channel, the former Microsoft employee that wrote Task Manager, he states that 200 million people use it each day. (December 2020 video) Not sure where he gets that info but he probably know better than you or I. Anyhow the video is good stuff.

        • Pierre Masse

          If it's prettier it's better, period.

  10. sykeward

    The only people who can test 21H2 are those who were moved to the Release Preview channel from the Beta channel because their PCs did not meet the hardware requirements for Windows 11.”


    This is the first I’ve heard of this—Microsoft’s story before was that people could test Win11 on below-final-min-requirements hardware. Is that no longer the case?

    • Paul Thurrott

      That's what Microsoft says.

      • blindbuddy53

        hi.and what about accessibility for windows 11. windows narrator for blind people. tested that. yet. i have heard a demo of using nvda with the beta version. any thoughts. thanks.

      • scoop

        It's true. I am on Release Preview and last night I got build 19043.1147, which is still 21H1. When I signed up as an Insider my T430 was placed directly into Release Preview, since it does not meet the specs for Win 11. So I was never in Beta or Dev to get kicked out of. Looks like right now there are three Insider builds: Win 11 for Dev and soon for Beta; 21H2 for those on Release Preview because they got bounced from Beta; and 21H1 (1147) for those who are in Release Preview but not because they got bounced.

    • navarac

      It was referring that the only people who can test Windows 10 21H2.....

    • matthewitt

      I think the people that are testing Windows 11 in this manner aren’t doing it in the Release Preview Channel, they’re doing it in the Dev Channel.

  11. epguy40

    another slightly new 21H2 build was released this past Tuesday July 20 (build 19044.1149)

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