Windows 10 version 21H1 is officially the May 2021 Update; arrives in Release Preview

Windows 10 version 21H1 is officially the May 2021 Update; arrives in Release Preview

Today, Microsoft christened Windows 10 version 21H1 as the Windows 10 May 2021 Update. As of now, it’s available for Windows Insiders in the Release Preview channel. Right now, it’s only available for “seekers”, meaning that if you check for updates, you’ll be presented with the option to download the feature update.

As promised, Windows 10 version 21H1 is just an enablement package. That means that it’s just lighting up some features that are hidden on your system. It also increases the build number by one, to 19043. In fact, this is the second enablement package update in a row, so three versions of Windows 10 all get the exact same updates.

As for what’s new in the Windows 10 May 2021 Update, there’s not much. That’s actually the nature of these enablement package updates. There are actually three specific new features:

  • You can now set a default Windows Hello camera if there’s an internal and external one.
  • Windows Defender Application Guard is getting performance improvements, and Microsoft says it’s optimizing document opening scenario times.
  • Windows Management Instrumentation Group Policy Service is getting improvements for work from home scenarios.

If you’re looking for more significant changes, such as the ones that we’re seeing in the Dev channel, that should be arriving this fall. That’s when we should start to see Microsoft’s Sun Valley UI updates, x64 emulation for Windows on ARM PCs, and possibly even Android emulation.

For now, we’re getting another minor update. Microsoft had originally said that it decided on a minor update because so many people are working from home. It didn’t want to disrupt anyone’s work flow by sending out a major update. According to my sources, however, this isn’t quite true.

Microsoft was supposed to ship Windows 10X last fall. Back in October 2019, it announced Windows 10X as a dual-screen operating system that was coming holiday 2020 in the Surface Neo. Because of the big push for Windows 10X last fall, the Windows 10 fall update, also known as 20H2, was delivered as a minor update.

Windows 10X got delayed though, and it even got repurposed for single-screen PCs. Because it got pushed back for a planned RTM in the spring, the spring Windows 10 update became a minor update as well. It was once again about focusing on Windows 10X. According to recent reports, Windows 10X is delayed yet again, although I’ve not heard anything about the big fall update being canceled.

If you want to start testing out the Windows 10 May 2021 Update, you can do it right now through the Release Preview channel. In Settings -> Update & security, you can go to the Windows Insider Program tab to enroll. Prior to today, it was only available for the Beta channel, or also in the Release Preview channel for commercial channels.

As you can probably guess from the name, you can expect non-Insiders to get their hands on Windows 10 version 21H1 in May.

About author

Rich Woods
Rich Woods

Managing Editor for XDA Computing. I've been covering tech from smartphones to PCs since 2013. If you see me at a trade show, come say hi and let me ask you weird questions about why you use the tech you use.