Windows 10 21H1 (May 2021 Update) is expected to start rolling out slowly as an optional update during the second half of 2021, and if your computer is known to have a good upgrade experience, you will be able to trigger the installation through the Windows Update settings page manually.
However, since you are in control of installing the new version, the question remains whether you should install it now or wait since it is a fact that during the early days of a feature update, computers are more likely to run into problems even if they are considered fully compatible.
In this guide, we will try to determine whether you should install or skip the Windows 10 May 2021 Update.
Is it safe to install version 21H1?
The best and short answer is “No,” since the update is not officially available, Windows 10 version 21H1 (May 2021 Update) is not considered ready. Although Microsoft has already made available the feature update through Windows Update and the ISO file in the Beta Channel, these releases are meant for commercial customers to test the deployment and validate apps before it is generally available.
Windows 10 21H1 is expected to release sometime during the first half of 2021, and even then, it will be limited only to a small number of devices because it won’t be fully compatible with many hardware configurations right out of the gate.
Also, the answer to whether you should install this version depends on the release you have. If the computer is already running version 20H2 or 2004, you may install version 21H1 with minimal to no risks. The reason is that all these versions share the same core file system, so only a small “enablement package” is needed to apply the new version with a quick reboot that does not require reinstallation.
Using the enablement package approach significantly reduces the number of problems you may encounter using an in-place upgrade or clean installation. However, it does not resolve the problems with the feature update. Although thus far, the new operating system does not seem to have major issues, you may still come across isolated problems.
On the other hand, if you have an older release, such as the November 2019 Update (version 1909), you may also be able to upgrade, but you should proceed with more caution.
Typically, going from an older to the newest release requires full reinstallation, and this process can sometimes cause unexpected problems. In addition to possible unknown and known issues resulting from the new system changes, you may also see software and compatibility problems if the computer has outdated drivers, poorly designed apps, programs designed for an old version of Windows, or you use third-party security software.
Should I wait to install version 21H1?
It is never a good idea to rush the upgrade to a new version of Windows 10 since during the initial rollout, unknown bugs, errors, and compatibility problems are expected.
Once a new version releases, you will eventually receive a notification in the Windows Update settings letting you know if the feature update is ready. If you do not get the notification, you should not try to force it using the Media Creation Tool or Update Assistant because the chances of running into issues will be higher. And you may come across errors, such as “This PC can’t be upgraded to Windows 10,” “This PC can’t be upgraded to this version of Windows 10 because of a service or driver that’s not ready yet,” or similar errors.
When a new feature update becomes available, it’s always recommended to wait for at least three to four quality updates before pushing the upgrade button.
If the computer in question uses an older version of the operating system, and it does not have any issues, you should wait. However, you should not skip the update completely. Eventually, that specific version will be discontinued and will no longer receive maintenance updates, leading to other problems and making the device vulnerable.