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Big Windows 10 update just made working from home better — here’s how

Windows 10
(Image credit: Wachiwit/Shutterstock)

The next big Windows 10 update will roll out performance improvements that support remote work and security.

Microsoft officially confirmed the update to Windows 10, version 21H1, is coming this spring in a blog post. The company traditionally releases two major Windows updates per year. The 21H1 edition follows an October 2020 update and precedes a huge overhaul of the software, codenamed "Sun Valley," due this fall.

Starting today, Microsoft is making 21H1 available to beta testers in the Windows Insiders program. Then, it will be released to all Windows 10 users in "later in the first half of this calendar year," sometime in April or May.

"Windows 10, version 21H1 will have a scoped set of features improving security, remote access and quality,” said John Cable, Microsoft’s head of Windows Servicing and Delivery. "The features we are releasing in this update are focused on the core experiences that customers have told us they’re relying on most right now."

Cable also explained that version 21H1 will be delivered using Microsoft's servicing technology, just like monthly updates and the October 2020 update. That means installation should occur quickly and seamlessly.

What's in Windows 10 version 21H1

Microsoft highlighted three major features in the upcoming Windows 10 update. 

  • 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.

The first new Windows 10 feature is designed to allow users to plug in an external camera and set it as the default on a laptop that already has an internal built-in camera. The latter two items are targeted to improve security and support for remote working.

Windows 10 version 21H1 represents the smaller of Microsoft's two updates this year. The one expected in fall, codenamed "Sun Valley," is rumored to be a complete revamp of the desktop interface, with new looks for the Start menu, Action Center, File Explorer and taskbar.