Microsoft releases the Windows 10 November 2021 Update
When Microsoft announced Windows 11 back in June, it did confirm that there would still be a fall feature update for Windows 10. That ended up being called the Windows 10 November 2021 Update, or version 21H2, and the company is releasing it today.
Unlike Windows 11, however, there’s not much that’s new in the Windows 10 November 2021 Update. That’s by design. If you want the things that are new and shiny, you can go for the new and shiny operating system. At this point, Windows 10 is aimed at businesses that aren’t ready to upgrade.
Here’s the full list of changes:
- 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
As you can see, it’s not much. Microsoft has already removed things like Edge Legacy and Internet Explorer via previous cumulative updates, and new features like the redesigned Microsoft Store come in the form of app updates.
The Windows 10 November 2021 Update will be an enablement package that boosts up the build number to 19044. We’ve seen this style of an update with Windows 10 version 1909, 20H2, and 21H1. It’s pretty simple. The new features are delivered via cumulative updates and they’re hidden. In fact, you’ve had these features hidden on your PC for a few months now. The nature of a cumulative update is that it includes everything that came before it, so this was included in the first cumulative update after the features arrived in the Release Preview ring.
Once the enablement package is downloaded and installed on your PC, it lights up those features and bumps up the build number, in this case by one (it’s always been by one, but it doesn’t technically have to be). That’s why versions 2004, 20H2, 21H1, and 21H2 are all going to get the exact same cumulative updates. They’re the exact same thing, only separated by a script that lights up some things that are hidden.
Beginning today, Windows 10 users are going to see the November 2021 Update as an optional update in Settings. Just like any feature update, Microsoft isn’t going to force your PC to take it. The only way that will happen is if the version that you’re on is nearing the end of support.