In late April, Microsoft said that it has finalized the next major version of Windows 10, formally named the Windows 10 May 2021 Update, for release in the near future. On Wednesday, May 18, Microsoft delivered on that promise as it began rolling the next big Windows update out to all PCs.
The Windows 10 May 2021 Update will also be known as version 21H1. It will probably appear as “21H1” when users launch the winver command after Microsoft begins pushing the update to client PCs.
Previously, in a blog post announcing the Windows 10 May 2021 Update, senior program manager Brandon LeBlanc said Microsoft is sending the final build, Build 19043.928, to the Release Preview channel of its Windows Insider program. The Release Preview channel is the most conservative of Microsoft’s Insider channels, the place where users can try a final, well-polished build of the next Windows 10 feature release a bit early. Microsoft invited testers to try out the final build by joining the Windows Insider program and downloading Windows 10 21H1. Now, Microsoft has completed that testing and is deploying Windows 10 21H1 to all PCs.
Even as of May 18, Windows 21H1 will be handed out as a “seeker” build. It won’t be automatically pushed to your system yet. You’ll have to go into the Windows 10 Settings menu, then to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and choose to download and install 21H1.
Before you go to all that trouble, you should know that the Windows 10 May 2021 Update actually isn’t going to have many new features. Brandon LeBlanc, the senior program manager at Microsoft who authored May 2021 Update announcement blog post, confirmed via Twitter that the 21H1 feature list remains unchanged from Microsoft’s February announcement of the Windows 10 21H1 feature list.
That feature list contains a single item: If you own a laptop with its own Windows Hello webcam, plus a separate external Windows Hello webcam, Microsoft will now allow you to select the external Hello webcam as the default camera.
Windows 10 21H1, however, is also a release that’s designed to fix bugs, including issues with the little-known Windows Defender Application Guard (WDAG) browser, plus copy performance when file sizes top 400MB. Microsoft has published a list of Windows 10 21H1 bug fixes.
Microsoft was expected to sideline Windows 10 in favor of Windows 10X, but that apparently hasn’t happened as quickly as Microsoft expected. Positioned as Microsoft’s answer to Google’s Chrome OS, Windows 10X has leaked but hasn’t yet been formally released. Microsoft also said Tuesday that it won’t be releasing Windows 10X, but will be incorporating features of it inside Windows 10.
Updated on May 18 to note that Windows 10 21H1 is now being formally released to users.