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The Windows 10 21H1 update is coming, but it will only be a minor update.

Microsoft this week announced the next Windows 10 feature update. The Windows 10 version 21H1 release was detailed in a blog post by Naim Mohammad, Technical Program Manager at Microsoft.

From what Mohammad shares, it seems that this new 21H1 version will be like 20H2 and will behave almost like a cumulative update. Drivers that meet Windows 10 2004 requirements won’t require new signatures. Windows 10 2004, 20H2 and 21H1 will all be based on the 2004 code base, Mohammad notes.

“The Windows 10, version 21H1 release will not bring updates to the Windows Hardware Compatibility Program and will follow the same guidelines as 20H2. Below are more details with respect to all WHCP-related activities.”

The new, smaller release comes as a surprise

The modest nature of the release is a surprise. In recent years Microsoft has released larger Windows 10 feature updates in the spring, followed by minor updates in the fall. For 2021, however, the spring/H1 update will be a minor one.

This has led to rumours flying that the fall/H2 Windows 10 feature update will be larger. Among those new features are a number of UI and in-box application UI changes that go by the code name “Sun Valley” .

Thus far, however, Microsoft has refused to release any information officially – aside from this blog post by Mohammad. The Windows team has not yet released a 21H1 test build to the Beta or Release Preview cohorts.

What to expect from the 21H1 roll-out

Microsoft will probably start rolling out 21H1 after it finalizes and tests the new version. And the company will most likely continue to add fixes and updates to it during that process.

That would be similar to the roll out of 20H2 last year. The  20H2 update was meant to be a small update to 2004. The update was programmed to be activated using an “Enablement Package” that made it seem like a Cumulative Update. For anyone running a version older than 2004, the 20H2 update updated like a regular Windows 10 feature release.

If the 21H2 release is similar, it will mean that the update won’t be a minor matter after all.