In the past two years, Microsoft did release a major feature update in the first half of the year and a minor update in the second half. It appears that the company plans to reverse the process: the next feature update for Windows 10, which is the first update of 2021, appears to be a smaller update, the second feature update, released in the second half, will be a larger update.
Smaller feature updates install just like other cumulative updates for the platform. The download and installation process is quick, and a single restart is required for the update to complete. Full feature update releases have a larger size, and they often require multiple restarts to be installed completely on the system.
In other words: the Windows 10 version 21H1 feature update will be a smaller update that will be unlocked with an Enablement Package just like Windows 10 version 20H2. The Enablement Package unlocks features of 21H1 on the upgraded device.
It is already possible to install these, but that is suggested only for testing purposes. All that is required is to install the KB4598291 update and run a series of DISM commands as described on this page on the Deskmodder site.
Note: unless for testing purposes, it is recommended to wait for the final release of Windows 10 version 21H1. Make sure you create backups of the system and all important data before you proceed.
Microsoft has yet to confirm this officially but it seems that the company plans to reverse the feature update releases in 2021. The official release date of Windows 10 21H1 is not known either, as Microsoft has not revealed it yet, but it could come a bit earlier than usually considering that it is a smaller update and not a larger feature update.
Windows 10 version 21H1 will make just a few changes and introduce just a few new features to the operating system, including:
- TLS 1.3 support is no longer experimental.
- Manual DNS over HTTPS configuration.
- Search when configuring applications in the Settings app.
- Disk Management in Settings.
Updates to Windows 10 21H1 should run a lot smoother and with less reported issues than previous first-half of the year update releases. The second update of 2021 will be a larger update, along with more features but also more issues that users may experience when upgrading.