The next major update to Windows 10, version 21H1, will be delivered in the first half of 2021 and focuses on improving external work scenarios. Microsoft traditionally delivers two major Windows updates per year, with most of the major features falling in the spring and a minor update in the fall. While IT administrators are used to this approach, it looks like Microsoft is reversing this cadence for 2021.
“Windows 10, version 21H1 will have a comprehensive set of features that enhance security, remote access and quality,” explains John Cable, Microsoft’s Head of Windows Service and Delivery. “The features we launch in this update are focused on the core experiences that customers have told us they trust the most right now.”
- Windows Hello multi-camera support to set the default as the external camera when both external and internal Windows Hello cameras are present.
- Windows Defender Application Guard performance enhancements including optimization of document opening hours.
- Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Group Policy Service (GPSVC) updates performance enhancement to support external work scenarios.
The changes in the Windows camera mean that you can soon connect an external Windows Hello camera and get the benefits of face recognition on a laptop that already has a Windows Hello camera built-in. At the moment, Windows does not support this scenario well, which means that cameras such as Logitech’s Brio do not work properly with devices such as the Microsoft Surface range that also have Windows Hello cameras.
Microsoft’s other enhancements to this 21H1 release are clearly designed for IT administrators to improve support for teleworking. This includes improving document opening times for Microsoft’s embedded antivirus software, and performance improvements for the Windows administration and configuration page.
This 21H1 update will also be installed very quickly, much like a monthly cumulative update of Windows. Microsoft has begun testing this 21H1 update with beta testers today, and plans to make it available to all Windows 10 users “later in the first half of this calendar year.”
Microsoft is also expected to deliver a major Windows 10 update later in 2021. The company is planning a “sweeping visual rejuvenation of Windows,” codenamed Sun Valley. Microsoft plans to detail the next major changes to Windows at a special event in the coming months.