Microsoft has released Windows 10 21H1 (May 2021 Update) and it is available to users using Windows 10 2004 or later as an optional update in Windows Update.
Windows 10 21H1 Feature Update is a very small release and doesn’t have too many new features. However, it comes with numerous performance and security improvements that promise to improve the overall operating system experience.
Microsoft made Windows 10 21H1 available for the first time as an optional update to “people looking” or those using Windows 10 2004 or later manually checking for new updates. Microsoft will then make it available to other Windows 10 users after it was initially tested with a smaller group.
To install the Windows 10 21H1 feature update, click Start Menu -> Settings -> Update & Security -> Check for updates. Windows 10 will perform a quick check and list the Feature update to Windows 10, version 21H1 option that you can install by clicking the Download & install now link.
This feature update is rolling out as a support pack for Windows 10 2004 and Windows 10 20H2, allowing these versions to update very quickly with just one reboot.
For older versions of Windows 10, you will be asked to install the full update, which will take longer.
If you do check for updates and Windows 10 21H1 is not offered, be patient as it may be “in transit” to your computer.
New features in Windows 10 21H1
Although it is currently a new version of Windows 10, Windows 10 21H1 is not an exciting update with many new features.
Instead, it is released as a service pack that fixes bugs and includes performance improvements to existing features.
All new features in Windows 10 21H1 are targeted at business users and those who have to work remotely.
- Windows Hello: In this update, the software developer notes that users can set the external camera as the default when there are both internal and external Windows Hello cameras.
- Windows Defender Application Guard: Performance improvements, including optimization of scripted document openings.
- Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Group Policy Service (GPSVC): Updated performance improvements to support remote work scenarios.
However, Microsoft is currently using updates from the Microsoft Store or the new Windows Feature Experience Packs to update Windows 10 programs and services outside of the usual update schedule.
These updates will allow Microsoft to quickly introduce new features to programs like Windows Terminal, Notepad, Windows 10 Start Menu, XBOX, Windows Snipping Tool, and Windows Subsystem for Linux.
Some features are no longer in development
With the release of Windows 10 21H1, Microsoft removed the following features and functions from the operating system.
- XDDM-based remote display driver: Support for Windows 2000 Display Driver Model (XDDM)-based remote display drivers is removed in this release. Independent software vendors using XDDM-based remote display drivers should plan to migrate to the WDDM driver model.
- Microsoft Edge: Older versions of Microsoft Edge are no longer supported after March 9, 2021.
Microsoft also announced that it is deprecating Personalization roaming and the Windows Management Instrumentation Command line (WMIC) tool.
- Personalization roaming: Roaming of personalization settings (including wallpapers, slideshows, colors and lock screen images) is no longer in development and may be removed in a future update.
- Windows Management Instrumentation Tool (WMIC): The WMIC tool is not included in Windows 10 21H1 and the semiannual 21H1 update of Windows Server. This tool is superseded by Windows PowerShell for WMI. Note: This deprecation only applies to command-line management tools. WMI itself is not affected.
This personalized roaming and WMIC tool is still available, but will be phased out by Microsoft.