Microsoft have released the Windows 10 21H1 update.
The significant change is that there is… no significant change to how your system will look or feel. In fact most users will notice no changes whatsoever to their system on the other side of this update.
Microsoft release 2 major updates every year to the operating system. One in springtime and one in autumn (fall). Previously the update in October 2020 known as 20H2 (meaning 2020 2nd Half) included a few user interface changes.
This update 21H1 (meaning 2021 1st Half) has no GUI (Graphic User Interface) changes. Microsoft seem to have abandoned the major vs. minor update scenario.
The good news is that if you are updating your system from 20H2 to 21H1, this should be a very quick and hassle-free process. And to borrow a phrase from Cortana… “this won’t take long”.
What’s New In The 21H1 Windows 10 Update
Windows Hello Multicamera Support
Windows Hello is a way of users logging in to their systems using facial recognition, similar to modern smartphones. Some users have more than one camera. The problem they had was that if an external camera was set as the default camera, Windows always looked for the integrated camera to run face recognition. This now is fixed. If you have never used this feature…. it doesn’t apply to you.
Windows Defender Application Guard Performance
This is to do with allowing certain programs to run in an “isolated, virtualized container for security”. According to the press release, this will allow processes such as “opening documents” to be considerably faster.
WMI Group Policy Performance
Let us quote from the Microsoft press release “Microsoft has improved Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Group Policy Service (GPSVC) and made it perform more quickly “to support remote work scenarios”.
If you are a home user rather than an IT admin or pro, this doesn’t really affect you.
The good news is that as Microsoft have dropped the major vs. minor feature updates, the download and install time will be much quicker for this one. Updating your computer from 20H2 to 21H1 should only take a few minutes.
Depending on your system speed and performance, once you have clicked “Update & Restart”, a typical low end computer should be rebooted with the new feature update installed within a couple of minutes.
How To Find Out What Feature Version You Currently Have
- Right-click on the Start Menu (flag on the bottom left) and select “Run”.
- Type winver
- Click OK
This will display your current Windows 10 version.
How To Upgrade Manually To New Version
Click Start / Settings (the cog thing) / Update & Security. Follow any onscreen instructions to either Check For Updates or Download & Install.
If Updates Fail What To Do
If your system has fallen behind with updates for some reason, the fast-track way is to download and run the Windows Update Assistant. Click on this link and select the line of text that says “download the update assistant”.
The 21H1 (2021 1st half) update is worth installing as always but don’t expect much in the way of new features or layout changes. That said, most users hate dramatic changes so this will be a welcome release.