Windows 10 21H2 (November 2021 Update) has been available as a minor optional update since November 16, 2021. The new update should already be available for download through the Windows Update settings page on laptops or desktop computers with a hardware and software configuration known to have a smooth upgrade experience.
However, since you must upgrade manually and during the early days of new feature updates, bugs and compatibility issues are expected, the question remains whether you should install version 21H2.
This guide will help you decide whether to install or stay away from the Windows 10 November 2021 Update.
Is it safe to install Windows 10 21H2?
The best answer is “yes,” when Microsoft released Windows 10 21H2 on November 16, the update was signed off as stable and safe to install on devices running versions 2004, 20H2, and 21H1. However, the company continues to use its deployment technology to throttle the rollout to ensure that only fully compatible hardware receives the update initially, which means that the November 2021 Update is still not fully available. (Update: Starting April 15, 2022, the feature update is fully available.)
Microsoft also has the health dashboard website, where the company lists the known issues for all releases of Windows, and right now all the known bugs have already been fixed.
Considering that the new version is a tiny update and not many users reported problems, it’s safe to assume that if you have a computer already running Windows 10 2004 or higher release, you can install version 21H2 with minimal to no risks. The reason is that 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 reduces the number of problems during and after an in-place upgrade or clean installation. However, it does not resolve the issues with the feature update (if any). Although the new operating system does not seem to have significant problems thus far, you may still come across issues.
On the other hand, if the device has 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.
Usually, upgrading from an older release requires complete reinstallation, and the process can sometimes cause unexpected problems. In addition to possible unknown and known issues due to the new system changes, you may also stumble upon software and compatibility problems if the computer has outdated drivers. Or if it has poorly designed apps, programs designed for an older version of Windows, or third-party security software.
Should I wait to install Windows 10 21H2?
If you are debating whether or not to upgrade, consider this. 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.
After a new version becomes available, you will receive a notification on the Windows Update settings page letting you know if the feature update is ready. If you do not receive the notification, you should not try to force it using the Media Creation Tool or Update Assistant because you may encounter unwanted issues. 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 laptop in question uses an older release and does not have any problems, you should wait. However, you should not skip new versions completely. Eventually, that specific version will be discontinued and no longer receive maintenance updates, leading to other problems and making the device vulnerable.
In the case that you have version 20H2, you should upgrade to version 21H2 as soon as possible since the older release will reach the end of support on May 10, 2022, and after that day, Microsoft will stop releasing updates.
Update April 20, 2022: Microsoft has made version 21H2 is now fully available for compatible computers. According to the company, the feature update doesn’t have any known issues at the time of this writing, which means that you can now upgrade with confidence.