Microsoft's next Windows 10 21H1 has essentially one new feature

If you've recently purchased a standalone webcam, Windows 10 21H1 may just the thing for your PC

Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft has announced the next feature release of Windows 10, Windows 10 21H1, with just a single feature. Okay, maybe two.

No one quite expected Microsoft to release a major Windows 10 feature update in the spring of 2021, given the the work Microsoft has been putting into the forthcoming Windows 10X. Still, no one probably expected this: just two consumer-facing features, with only one of them something that a typical user might do. The rest is bug fixes.

In a blog post, John Cable, Microsoft’s vice president of program management, listed the new features inside Windows 10 21H1:

  • Windows Hello multi-camera support to allow users to choose an external camera priority when using high end displays with integrated cameras
  • Windows Defender Application Guard (WDAG) performance improvements including optimizing document opening scenario times

In other words, if you own a laptop with an integrated camera, but opted to buy a higher-end 1080p webcam that you can use instead, Windows will now prioritise the better camera.

And If you surf the darker regions of the web, or are just a bit paranoid, Windows 10’s Windows Defender Application Guard allows you to use what's essentially the Edge browser within a Hyper-V sandbox, so malware can’t break out of the sandbox and infect your computer. The update apparently improves how WDAG performs. We’d like to believe that you use WDAG as you surf the web—but you probably don’t.

A third upgrade, “Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Group Policy Service (GPSVC) updating performance improvement to support remote work scenarios,” probably benefits enterprise administrators more than anyone.

It’s probable that the Windows 10 21H1 improvements will include the new fixes included in Windows 10 Insider Build 19043.844, such as eliminating the delay in opening an Office document within WDAG, improving copy performance, and fixing a memory issue.

The bulk of the update, however, will consist of bug fixes. If you’re interested in reviewing what 21H1 will fix, they’re listed as part of a separate build’s release notes, version 19042.844

How to get Windows 10 21H1

Fortunately, there’s an upside to a dearth of new features: You can expect that the update should be quick and painless, “like a monthly update,” Cable wrote.

“Broad availability of Windows 10, version 21H1 will begin later in the first half of this calendar year, and we will provide more information on the release and how to get it as we get closer to the launch of this next feature update,” Cable added.

If you’d like to try out the release ahead of time, you can join the Windows Insider program by going to the Windows 10 Settings menu, clicking Update & Security, and following the instructions. Your PC will have to download a few files and restart. You can then download the Windows 10 19043.844 and test it out before a slightly revised version ships to all Windows 10 PCs a bit later.

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Mark Hachman

Mark Hachman

PC World (US online)
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