Microsoft announced Windows 10 21H2

Microsoft today announced the release of Windows 10 Creators Update, their next major release of the Windows 10 operating system. Creators Update adds a number of new features to Windows, including a new Paint 3D feature, a new 3D animation tool to create 3D videos that will work with Windows Mixed Reality, a new Timeline feature that will allow users to group apps, documents, and screenshots together, a new Screenshot tool that will let users send screenshots to OneDrive or OneNote, the ability to create a 3D printed model of a 3D printed object, a new 3D printing feature, and new ways to create stickers, and 3D objects, and even 3D printed accessories.

Microsoft unveiled the latest version of its operating system today, Windows 10 version 21H2, and we had a chance to go hands-on with the new features. In addition to the usual list of new features, there are a few treats the company has added to the operating system. For instance, the new version of Microsoft Edge will automatically block trackers by default, including those used by third-party advertisers to track you. Additionally, when you download the Windows 10 version 21H2 update, the operating system will track your system for a few weeks, giving Microsoft the opportunity to “diagnose” your device and improve its performance over time.

While the most exciting things in the Windows world are happening around Windows 11, Microsoft continues to support Windows 10 users. According to Microsoft, more than 1.3 billion monthly active devices run on Windows 10. Due to the specific hardware requirements of Windows 11, not all Windows 10 users will be able to upgrade to the next version of Windows. This means that Microsoft must continue to provide support in the form of regular updates and patches for Windows 10. Microsoft has announced the next update for Windows 10 on its official Windows blog – 21H2.

If you’re a regular user with a PC not running Windows 11, you shouldn’t get too excited about the arrival of Windows 10 21H2. This is a relatively minor update with new features for businesses and developers. Here is the official Microsoft changelog.

What’s new in Windows 10 21H2

  • Windows 10 21H2 provides support for WPA3 H2E to improve Wi-Fi security.
  • Windows Hello for Business uses simplified, passwordless provisioning templates, so the system is ready to use in minutes.
  • Support GPU computing in WSL and Azure IoT Edge for Linux on Windows (EFLOW) implementations for machine learning and other compute-intensive workflows.

Update

Users of Windows 10 versions 2004, 20H2 or 21H1 can switch to the new system as soon as possible. The update is installed as a regular monthly cumulative update. For users of earlier versions of Windows 10 (prior to the May 2020 update), the upgrade process is similar to installing a new operating system image with all the features.

Microsoft does not specify when Windows 10 21H2 will be available. The company has only stated that users can expect the next feature update in the second half of calendar year 2021. Windows Insider users can currently download Windows 10 21H2 from the Release Preview channel.

Windows 10 21H2 will have 18 months of active support for the Home and Pro editions. The Enterprise and Education editions have 30 months of active support. Finally, Windows 10 21H2 marks the release of the next LTSC version with a five-year lifespan. In case you missed it, Microsoft recently announced changes to the Windows 11 maintenance schedule. With the release of the next version of Windows, users will receive 24 months of basic support with one feature update per year.

It should be noted that the new features will appear in Windows Insider Preview builds as soon as they are available. The full release of Windows 10 version 21H2 will take place in the second half of 2021. The company will release more information about the version and how it can be obtained closer to the release date.

Windows 10 Version 21H2, Build 19044.1147, KB5004296

The first build of Windows 10 version 21H2 is already available in the Release Preview channel as KB5004296. However, it does not apply to Insiders whose devices do not meet the minimum system requirements for Windows 11.

Build 19044.1147 does not include the new features described above, but only a large list of bug fixes, which you can find here. The announced changes will be available in future versions.

KB5004296 appears in the Release Preview channel for Insiders only after manually checking for updates in Windows Update. To get it, Insiders should go to Settings -> Update & Security -> Windows Update, click Check for updates, and then click the prompt to download and install the 21H2 version.

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