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.