Windows 10 will get annual feature updates from now on
Today, Microsoft announced the availability of Windows 10 version 21H2, also known as the November 2021 Update. It’s a minor update that doesn’t have any front-facing features for consumers; rather, it’s more focused toward IT. Perhaps more interesting is that the Redmond firm announced that moving forward, Windows 10 is going to get yearly updates until its end of support date in October 2025.
Ever since 2017, Windows 10 has been on a semi-annual cadence for new feature updates. In fact, it was meant to align with Office 365 ProPlus feature updates, but Windows 11 is now going to get new features on a yearly basis. Windows 10 is going to match that.
Interestingly, not much changes in terms of support. With Windows 10, the rule has been that the spring update gets 18 months of support, and the fall update gets 30 months of support, for businesses at least. Moving forward, these annual updates will still arrive in the fall, so they’re still going to get 30 months of updates. There’s also a new LTSC release going out today, which will get extended support.
What Microsoft didn’t say is what these annual updates will look like. The last three Windows 10 updates have been enablement packages. That means that it’s just a small package that flips the switch to light up some features that are already installed on your system. Being that the big focus with new features is on Windows 11, it wouldn’t be surprising if enablement packages were the way forward for Windows 10. Of course, with an annual cadence, it’s possible that there’s a plan for larger builds.
Windows 10 version 21H2 is available for all Windows 10 users now, and you’ll be able to find it in Windows Update. It shouldn’t be blocked for anyone, since it’s just an extension of version 2004, like versions 20H2 and 21H1. The next update will ship in the second half of 2022, thanks to the new Windows 10 update schedule. It will be the first year to only get one Windows 10 update since 2016.