Windows 10 21H1 spring 2021 update — everything you need to know

Windows 10 21H1 spring 2021 update: Release date, features and more
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The next major Windows 10 update — known as Windows 10 21H1 spring 2021 update — is right around the corner. And since Windows 10 updates can often gum up the works (or deliver needed changes), it's time to learn what this update will deliver.

Unfortunately, those who want this update to deliver a ton of new features may be a bit disappointed. Microsoft's official announcement for Windows 10 21H1 focused on a trio of tweaks, which aren't exactly big changes.

Windows 10 21H1 spring 2021 update: Release date

The Windows 10 spring 2021 update isn't officially out yet, as its main release "will begin later in the first half of this calendar year," according to the official announcement post from John Cable, the Vice President of the Program Management division of Windows Servicing and Delivery. Windows Central's sources say the update is scheduled for a May 2021 release. 

That said, adventurous souls can get Windows 10 21H1 right now. In his February 17 post, Cable revealed "We will begin releasing 21H1 builds to Windows Insiders in the Beta channel today." So, all you need to do is join the Windows Insider program, which distributes beta versions of Windows for public testing.

This is all to set the foundation and prepare for Windows 10's 21H2 update, rumored to be code-named Sun Valley. Sun Valley is supposed to delivery a big graphical rejuvenation to the operating system, and is likely due in fall 2021.

Windows 10 21H1 spring 2021 update features

As we reported previously, Windows 10 21H1 is primarily meant to improve the remote work life, Cable notes that it will "have a scoped set of features improving security, remote access and quality." And that its changes deliver improvements to the "core experiences that customers have told us they’re relying on most right now."

Per Mr. Cable's post, these are the three highlighted features of Windows 10 21H1:

  • "Windows Hello multicamera support to set the default as the external camera when both external and internal Windows Hello cameras are present."
  • "Windows Defender Application Guard performance improvements including optimizing document opening scenario times."
  • "Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Group Policy Service (GPSVC) updating performance improvement to support remote work scenarios."

Essentially, this isn't the hugest update, but Microsoft is well aware that we're all working slightly differently when we're at home. 

The first of those three listed features should help shave off complexity. As users learn that they need one of the best webcams (if they want to be seen clearly), Windows 10 should adapt to start defaulting to the plugged-in webcam, as it's typically always going to be better than the one inside the system.

The other two tweaks will be under-the-hood improvements that you will hopefully never notice.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.