In a Windows Hardware Certification blog post, Microsoft has finally acknowledged this year’s first major Windows 10 update, currently code-named 21H1 and scheduled for release later this spring.
Though the Windows Insider team (which releases beta versions of Windows) hasn’t yet talked about 21H1, the Hardware Certification blog post suggests that Microsoft will indeed stick to its now three-year-long tradition of releasing two major Windows 10 updates per year.
It’s long been rumored that this year’s first update, 21H1, would be a smaller update focused on patches for the operating system. That’s because 21H1 could be setting the stage for a larger update that’s coming in the fall and is code-named “Sun Valley.”
According to Windows Central, the 21H1 update is well on its way to being done. Microsoft could soon be planning to test the update with the Beta and Release Preview channels, ahead of an eventual release to Windows Update in May. It also could come with “minor additions backported,” though it’s not clear what that refers to exactly. Microsoft even has been testing the update internally, recently finishing the process.
In its current state, the 21H1 Update isn’t that exciting. Like the 20H1 update from last year, it’s focused on smaller things like refreshing icons, updating settings pages, tweaking Cortana, and the search box experience.
The Sun Valley Update, meanwhile, is believed to be bringing many exciting changes to Windows 10. A “visual rejuvenation” is one of those changes, including a new floating Start Menu, as well as a touch-friendly tablet mode.
That said, later in 2021, there could be two different “flavors” of Windows 10. You’ll see regular Windows 10 laptops and tablets running either the 21H1 or the Sun Valley Update, as well as new lightweight Windows 10X devices for education business and enterprise.
Due to the pandemic, a lot of Microsoft plans have changed. Windows 10X has since been refocused from dual-screen devices to single-screen devices, to help boost Microsoft’s positioning in the education market. We talked more about these changes in a look at where we expect Windows 10 to go in the year 2021, and why it finally will be an exciting year for Windows.