Microsoft has completed the development of Windows 10’s next feature update ahead of its rumoured launch in the first half of 2021, but you shouldn’t get too excited about the ’21H1′ update because it’s going to be a minor release with quality improvements and fixes.
Just like how the October 2020 Update was based on May 2020 Update, Windows 10 version 21H1 will be based on the October 2020 Update. The next version of Windows 10 also relies on an ‘enablement package’ to turn on features that transform version 20H2 into version 21H1.
It also means that build number will bump to Build 19043 from 19042 or 19041, depending on the version of the OS you use currently.
In January or February, Microsoft will begin seeding the update to testers in the Release Preview Channel of Windows Insider program. Other sources have also reported that the next update is going to be a service pack style release and you can expect the following improvements:
- New icon for the Settings app.
- Dark mode for Windows Search.
- New features for Cortana.
- Task Manager can now display the architecture of the program.
- Improved Graphics Settings.
- Windows Subsystem for Linux improvements.
More minor improvements and features will be delivered via the new Windows Experience Packs during the rollout of the monthly cumulative updates.
While the version 21H1 is going to be a minor release, Microsoft has already started working on version 21H2, which is expected to introduce a new user interface and improvements for Start Menu.
Windows 10 21H2 features will begin showing up in the Insider preview builds in January and February.
This feature update will enter its last stages of finalization in June ahead of its launch in October/November of next year.
It’s also possible that Microsoft will backport some features of the Sun Valley update (21H2) to Windows 10 version 21H1 using the Feature Experience Packs, which incorporates a new way of pushing features to the OS.