Microsoft details new features in Windows 10 version 21H2
When Microsoft announced Windows 11 last month, it confirmed that there was also going to be a new feature update to Windows 10 coming later this year. Today, Microsoft has formally announced Windows 10 version 21H2.
As expected, there’s not much that’s new. Unsurprisingly, the bulk of the new features that are in development are being reserved for Windows 11. 21H2 will be the third consecutive Windows 10 update to be delivered with an enablement package. That means that the new features are actually being delivered by way of cumulative updates, and they’re hidden. The enablement package turns on those features and bumps up the build number.
Microsoft only noted three features that are coming in Windows 10 version 21H2. Most notable is that Windows 10 is getting support for GPU compute in the Windows Subsystem for Linux. Here’s the full list of features, although Microsoft says that these focus on productivity, management, and security:
- 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
It’s unclear if there will be any other features added at a later date.
As for support, it’s going to be 18 months for Windows 10 Home and Pro, and 30 months for Education and Enterprise. It’s interesting, because Windows 10 support isn’t set to end until October 2025, so with Windows 11 on the way, many expected that this would be the last version of Windows 10, and that it would just be supported for longer.
Windows 10 version 21H2 is also a Long-Term Servicing Channel version. Previous LTSC releases were supported for 10 years, although now, it’s five years. For LTSC customers, Windows 10 version 21H2 will be supported until 2026. But since it’s a new policy, this isn’t even the last version that will end support. The LTSC version of Windows 10 version 1809 is still supported for 10 years, so support for that ends in 2028.
The first preview build of Windows 10 version 21H2 is now available in the Release Preview channel. Interestingly, since the Beta channel is reserved for Windows 11 but Windows 11 isn’t there yet, Release Preview is on a newer version of Windows than Beta.
The build number is 19044.1147, and you’ll get KB5004296 along with the option to take the enablement package. It also comes with the following fixes:
Windows 10 build 19044.1147 fixes
- We fixed an issue with searchindexer. After you sign out, searchindexer continues to hold handles to the per user search database in the profile path, “C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Search\Data\Applications\\”. As a result, searchindexer stops working and duplicate profile names are created.
- We fixed an issue that prevents gaming services from opening certain games for desktop users.
- We fixed an issue that prevents you from entering text using the Input Method Editor (IME). This might occur, for example, after startup if you have set the power options to shut down a laptop by closing its lid.
- We changed the functionality for uploading new activity into Timeline. If you sync your activity history across your devices using your Microsoft account (MSA), you cannot upload new activity into the Timeline. You can still use Timeline and see your activity history (information about recent apps, websites, and files) on your local device. This does not affect Azure Active Directory (AAD) accounts. To view web history, Microsoft Edge and other browsers provide the option to view recent web activities. You can also view recently used files using Microsoft OneDrive and Microsoft Office.
- We fixed an issue that might cause the File Explorer window to lose focus when you are mapping a network drive.
- We fixed an issue that causes File Explorer to stop working after reaching 99% completion when you are deleting many files on a mapped network drive.
- We fixed a timing issue in the Group Policy Registry Telemetry that causes Group Policy extension processing to fail.
- We fixed an issue that repeatedly rebuilds the Windows Filtering Platform (WFP) filters. This issue occurs when a device is enrolled in a mobile device management (MDM) service and “MDMWinsOverGP” is set.
- We fixed an issue with an MDM service that fails to correctly apply certain junk mail rules.
- We fixed an issue that always reports the update build revision (UBR) as zero (0) on a device during enrollment to an MDM service.
- We fixed an issue that causes the enrollment of the Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA) certificate to fail with the error, “0x80090027 NTE_INVALID_PARAMETER”. This issue occurs when the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) provider (the Microsoft Software Key Storage Provider) stores the key.
- We fixed an issue with auditing events 4624 and 5142 that display the wrong event template when Dutch is the display language.
- We fixed an issue that causes System Integrity to leak memory.
- We fixed an issue that plays the sound for selecting something in a game loudly when you press the trigger button on a game controller.
- We fixed an issue that prevents power plans and Game Mode from working as expected. This results in lower frame rates and reduced performance while gaming.
- We fixed an issue in which “Network Internal Access” appears on the taskbar network icon on systems that access the internet from certain domains.
- We fixed an issue in which the Network Connectivity Status Indicator (NCSI) fails to detect internet connectivity after you connect to a virtual private network (VPN).
- We fixed an issue that causes printing to stop or prints the wrong output. This issue occurs when you print using a USB connection after updating to Windows 10, version 2004 or later.
- We fixed a rare issue that might degrade performance in applications that call Gdiplus.dll!GdipMeasureString in a tight loop with a new font on each call. This issue occurs after installing Windows updates released on and after February 2021.
- We fixed an issue that incorrectly routes some audio channels when streaming using certain fixed channel layouts.
- We fixed an issue that always displays devices that RemoteFX USB redirects as “Remote Desktop Generic USB Device” instead of the actual device name.
- We fixed an issue in which Set-RDSessionCollectionConfiguration does not set the camerastoredirect:s:value custom property.
- We fixed a Local Security Authority Subsystem Service (LSASS) domain controller memory leak that is reported in Privileged Access Management (PAM) deployments.
- We fixed an issue that prevents you from accessing a network drive that maps to a Distributed File System (DFS) root after you sign out.
- We fixed an issue that prevents you from reconnecting to mapped network drives after you sign in and displays an access denied error. This issue occurs if you use the net use /deep option to create multiple drive mappings to different paths on the same encrypted file share.
- We fixed an issue that prevents access to files on a Server Message Block (SMB) share when you enable Access Enabled Enumeration (ABE).
- We fixed an issue that prevents the Windows Server service from starting if SrvComment is greater than 128 characters.
- We fixed an issue in the Windows Network File System (NFS) client that might prevent you from renaming a file after mounting an NFS share. This issue occurs if you rename the file using File Explorer but does not occur if you rename the file using command line.
- We fixed an issue with an unhandled Open File dialog critical exception. As a result, Microsoft Foundation Class (MFC) applications might close unexpectedly.
- We fixed an issue in which the Storage Sense page in Settings might incorrectly report the size of some storage devices that use the GUID Partition Table (GPT). The affected devices will incorrectly report in Storage Sense that the size is twice as large as the size reported in File Explorer. Note: This issue does not affect storage devices that use a master boot record (MBR).
Note that even if you’re in the Release Preview ring, this comes in as an optional update. If you don’t take it, you’ll still get the cumulative update, but you’ll remain on Windows 10 version 21H1. Strangely, it’s only available for those that got booted from the Beta channel when their PC wasn’t eligible for Windows 11.