Surprise! New Windows 10 Version 21H2 Is Official

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Microsoft has today introduced the October 2021 Update, Windows 10 version 21H2. The company said that while it's excited for the next generation of Windows with Windows 11, it is also focused on supporting over 1.3 billion monthly active devices that are currently running on Windows 10.

"Windows 10, version 21H2 will have a scoped set of features focused on productivity and security, prioritized to meet our customers’ needs based on feedback," John Cable, Vice President, Program Management, Windows Servicing and Delivery, writes.

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Some of these Windows 10 21H2 features include:

  • Adding WPA3 H2E standards support for enhanced Wi-Fi security
  • Windows Hello for Business supports simplified passwordless deployment models for achieving a deploy-to-run state within a few minutes
  • GPU compute support in the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) and Azure IoT Edge for Linux on Windows (EFLOW) deployments for machine learning and other compute intensive workflows

Windows 10 21H2 continues to build on version 2004

After Windows 10 20H2 and version 21H1, Windows 10 21H2 is also built on v2004 foundations, which means all four versions share a common core operating system and an identical set of system files. This results in a faster update process for devices that will be upgrading to this new Windows 10 version 21H2 from any of the three previous versions.

The official public release is set to begin later in the year, with Microsoft confirming 18 months of support for the Home and Pro editions and 30 months of servicing for Enterprise and Education editions.

Insider builds begin releasing today

While Microsoft has been testing improvements for Windows 10 v21H2 for several months now, they haven't been tagged as such. The Windows maker said that starting today, 21H2 builds will be released to Windows Insiders, who were moved to the Release Preview channel from the Beta channel because their devices did not meet the hardware requirements for Windows 11.

"This enables them to instead experience the latest innovations and enhancements in Windows 10," Cable said.

The public release of Windows 10 21H2 is scheduled for the end of this year, along with the public release of Windows 11. Insiders can begin testing Windows 10 21H2 with today's Insider Preview Build 19044.1147. Windows 11 also received a new Insider Preview Build earlier today.

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