- Microsoft releases Windows 10 21H2 (November 2021 Update) on November 16, 2021.
- The new version is available for versions 21H1, 20H2, and 2004 with an enablement package.
- Older versions of Windows 10 can upgrade to version 21H2 using the reinstallation process.
Windows 10 21H2 (November 2021 Update) is available starting November 16 as a free update for compatible computers. This is the twelfth feature update available for desktops and tablets that introduces a very small set of improvements and features to enhance the user experience.
Since November 2021 Update is based on the same core system files available on versions, 21H1, 20H2, and 2004, computers running the last three versions will receive the new update as a small enablement package that will install as a cumulative update without the need for reinstallation. However, it won’t happen automatically, because this is an optional update that you must install manually.
On the other hand, if the device is running a version nearing the end of service (such as version 1909), then Windows 10 will eventually download and install the new version automatically.
Upgrade to Windows 10 21H2, November 2021 Update
Starting on November 16, 2021, if the device has version 21H1, 20H2, or 2004, you can upgrade manually to the November 2021 Update by checking the “Windows Update” settings page, clicking the “Stay on Windows 10 for now” option (if the device is compatible with Windows 11), and click the Download and install option. After the package downloads, the device will restart to complete the installation. The entire upgrade process should only take around five minutes. If the installation option is missing, the new version is still not compatible with the device configuration.
If you have an older version of Windows, you can still install version 21H2 through Windows Update. However, it may take a sometime before the update becomes available since Microsoft is initially only updating versions 21H1, 20H2, and 2004. Also, remember that upgrading from version 1909 or older will require reinstallation.
Update Assistant and Media Creation Tool
You can also download Windows 10 21H2 manually using the Update Assistant to force the upgrade in case that Windows Update is not working. In addition, you can use the Media Creation Tool to perform an in-place upgrade without losing your files. However, using either of these tools will require a complete reinstallation of Windows.
Alternatively, it’s possible to use the Media Creation Tool to perform a clean install of the November 2021 Update, which can help to improve system performance and fix problems. Also, you can download the ISO file with version 21H2 to perform an in-place upgrade or clean install from USB.
What’s new on Windows 10 21H2, November 2021 Update
Windows 10 21H2 is yet another minor update without significant changes since Microsoft is only maintaining this version for computers that do not meet the minimum system requirements to upgrade to Windows 11.
In this new version, Microsoft is adding support for external cameras to use Windows Hello for Business. In addition, users without administrator privileges can configure the display language and other languages, and for Windows Autopilot, the update will add support for TPM attestation for Intel 11th Gen processors.
Furthermore, version 21H2 adds WPA3 H2E (Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 Hash-to-Element) standards support to wireless security, and you will get GPU compute support in the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) and Azure IoT Edge for Linux on Windows (EFLOW) deployments for machine learning and other workflows.
You can start downloading the new semi-annual feature update starting on November 16, 2021.
If you are not ready for the new version, Windows 10 won’t automatically install the new version unless your version is getting close to the end of service.
Microsoft also has confirmed that moving forward Windows 10 will only receive one feature update per year to align with the release cadence of Windows 11, which means that the next feature update will arrive during the second half of 2022. Furthermore, the company is renaming the servicing option for releases to the “General Availability Channel,” which replaces the previous “Semi-Annual Channel” term for the servicing option.
Finally, the Home and Pro editions of version 21H2 are expected to receive 18 months of support, and the Enterprise and Education editions will receive 30 months of support beginning November 16, 2021.