Microsoft Releases Windows 10 Version 21H2

Microsoft announced today that it has begun to roll out Windows 10 November 2021 Update, which upgrades Windows 10 to version 21H2. More importantly, the software giant also revealed that it is updating the Windows 10 servicing cadence to match that of Windows 11.

“We are [a] measured approach to the rollout of the November 2021 Update, as we have with previous releases, to help enable a smooth update,” Microsoft vice president John Cable notes in the announcement post. “We will be throttling up availability over the coming weeks to ensure a reliable download experience for all so the update may not be offered to you right away. In these cases, we will not offer the feature update until we are confident that you will have a good update experience.”

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Windows 10 version 21H2 adds almost nothing in terms of new features or, as Microsoft describes it, this update is “scoped to focus on productivity, management, and security.” There’s not much to worry about here, however. This update adds some critical changes to the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) VPN APIs, support for Wi-Fi 6 with Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 Hash-to-Element protocol (WPA3 H2E), over 1,400 new mobile device management (MDM) policies, improvements to Universal Print, and support for automatically provisioning Azure Virtual Desktop-based (virtual) apps to a physical Windows 10 PC.

Of more interest is that new servicing cadence, since many had been speculating what Microsoft would do with Windows 10 after this release.

“We will transition to a new Windows 10 release cadence to align with the Windows 11 cadence, targeting annual feature update releases,” Mr. Cable reveals. “We are now renaming the servicing option for releases to the General Availability Channel starting with the November 2021 Update (replacing the previous “Semi-Annual Channel” term for the servicing option). [So] the next Windows 10 feature update is slated for the second half of 2022. [And] we will continue to support at least one version of Windows 10 through October 14, 2025.”

Windows 10 version 21H2 Home and Pro will receive 18 months of servicing and support, Microsoft adds, while Windows 10 version 21H2 Enterprise and Education editions will receive 30 months of servicing and support beginning today.

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Conversation 19 comments

  • madthinus

    Premium Member
    16 November, 2021 - 1:21 pm

    <p>There a link to the post?</p>

    • madthinus

      Premium Member
      16 November, 2021 - 1:43 pm

      <p>Blog post is now live on the Windows Blog</p>

  • wpcoe

    Premium Member
    16 November, 2021 - 1:36 pm

    <p>Apparently enterprise IT support folks wanted one update per year, but not being an enterprise IT guy I wonder which is better: Having all your Windows computers need attention at the same time (fall) or maybe having the Win10 computers update in the spring and Win11 in the fall?</p><p><br></p><p>I’m not criticizing MS, I’m just curious which is a preferrable strategy.</p>

    • wunderbar

      Premium Member
      16 November, 2021 - 1:49 pm

      <p>It’s actually less about doing half at one point and half at another. If you have several hundred or more PC’s in a fleet you’re not updating them all at once anyway, and would probably do it in stages over a period of time regardless.</p><p><br></p><p>the real issue for IT teams is testing and planning the updates. OS version updates aren’t something we just push go on as soon as they’re available. They need to be tested to ensure they work properly across the company hardware and software platforms. Having to do that twice a year can be a huge time sink, and the reason why companies were already generally skipping the spring update as it was.</p>

    • wright_is

      Premium Member
      16 November, 2021 - 2:36 pm

      <p>You usually don’t mix versions of Windows. All will stay on 10 until 11 has been thoroughly tested and all hardware can be upgraded, then you will go through a upgrade programme.</p><p><br></p><p>Having 1 update a year, while more boring from a personal point of view, it is a damned site easier to manage the upgrade across hundreds or thousands of devices.</p>

      • JerryH

        Premium Member
        17 November, 2021 - 4:21 pm

        <p>That was true of older Windows versions for sure. But since Windows 11 is really the "Windows 10 lipstick on a pig edition" and app compat and management tools compat is supposed to be 99.9% – we won’t wait this time. The devices that can take 11 will (probably around April 2022 for us). New GUI, new thread scheduler, new requirements – but the base kernel and all have not changed much more than you would expect from a feature upgrade of Windows 10. This time isn’t like Windows 7 to Windows 8 or Windows 8 to Windows 10 where you needed to repackage your apps, test them all again, etc.</p>

  • bluvg

    16 November, 2021 - 1:44 pm

    <p>"the next Windows 10 feature update is slated for the second half of 2022."</p><p><br></p><p>I thought 21H2 was the end of the line for Win10?</p>

    • lvthunder

      Premium Member
      16 November, 2021 - 2:24 pm

      <p>You thought wrong.</p>

      • bluvg

        17 November, 2021 - 1:24 am

        <p>Happily wrong in this case! ? I thought they had said once Win11 was released, there would be no more feature updates for Win10 beyond this release, just security/maintenance until EOL (as with previous Windows releases XP+?).</p>

    • thretosix

      17 November, 2021 - 10:12 am

      <p>It’s supported until Oct. 14th, 2025. Which will likely be the first time I consider Windows 11.</p>

  • Bart

    Premium Member
    16 November, 2021 - 2:10 pm

    <p>Is Windows 10 getting annual updates upon requests of customers, or because Windows 10 (and 11) are now in a state where a once-a-year update is enough? Bit of both?</p>

    • lvthunder

      Premium Member
      16 November, 2021 - 2:26 pm

      <p>My guess is that it is too much work for Microsoft to do all the steps they need to push out a new version twice a year when the rest of the industry only does it once a year.</p>

    • RobertJasiek

      16 November, 2021 - 3:20 pm

      <p>W10 gets feature updates so that Microsoft can again try to reenable telemetry, as it tried in 21H1 by deleting HKLM \ SOFTWARE \ Policies \ Microsoft \ Windows \ DataCollection AllowTelemetry REG_DWORD 0, the Windows telemetry services etc. in earlier feature updates.</p>

    • skinnyjm

      16 November, 2021 - 11:35 pm

      <p>I have always thought semi-annual feature updates was too often and put quality at risk, glad to hear they are going annually. So I guess now the versioning format will change from 21H1, 21H2, etc. to the year number 2022, 2023, etc. or will it stay with 22H2?</p>

  • ghostrider

    16 November, 2021 - 3:38 pm

    <p>When have MS ever worried about a ‘good upgrade experience’, other than the bad PR they will get if one causes enough problems?</p>

  • wright_is

    Premium Member
    17 November, 2021 - 2:58 am

    <p>Installed it on a test VM, the installation took around 2 seconds.</p>

    • wright_is

      Premium Member
      17 November, 2021 - 3:09 am

      <p>At it restarted normally as well, within a minute. No privacy selection cr*p to go through, it just logged in normally.</p><p><br></p><p>I thought it must have failed at first, but looking at the version info in Settings, it is 21H2, build 19044.1348.</p>

  • blue77star

    17 November, 2021 - 9:11 pm

    <p>LTSC Version is out based on 21H2 and this is the version I have been waiting for. Everything else is pretty much junk.</p>

  • tukkas

    18 November, 2021 - 11:28 pm

    <p>Very disappointing that wsl2 gui apps support didn’t land on this release.</p>

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