Less frustration

Windows 10 moves to one annual feature update

Microsoft moves to a single annual update for Windows 10 devices.

Windows 10 21H2 Update Assistant
  • Microsoft will only release one feature update for Windows 10 each year.
  • The change will align with the release cadence of Windows 11.
  • The next major update will release during the second half of 2022.

Microsoft has confirmed that it is changing the update cadence of Windows 10 from two to one feature update per year. This means that after the release of version 21H2 (November 2021 Update), every new major update will release during the second half of the following year.

According to the company, the change has been made to match the cadence of Windows 11, which will also get one feature update annually.

The announcement also confirms that version 21H2 isn’t the last update, and Windows 10 will continue to receive feature updates until it finally retires on October 14, 2025. However, it’s still unclear what will be included in these updates since most of the features will likely only be available for Windows 11. The November 2021 Update is a minor update that only includes a few improvements and a very small scope of new features, so the following updates will likely be similar.

The company also said that it’s renaming the servicing option for new releases of Windows 10 to the “General Availability Channel,” which replaces the previous “Semi-Annual Channel” term for the servicing option since there will only be one update annually.

Finally, the Home and Pro editions of version 21H2 are expected to receive 18 months of support, while the Enterprise and Education editions will receive 30 months of support beginning November 16, 2021.

Although the servicing timeline for each Windows 10 isn’t new, it’s different from Windows 11 since this version receives 24 and 36 months of support, respectively.

Microsoft moving to a single feature update each year should be a welcome change for most users. While getting new features twice a year might be good, the upgrade experience usually brings unwanted problems and compatibility issues. So this new change should minimize the frustration that customers experience with updates, specially for business users.

Furthermore, the company has been testing its new Online Service Experience Pack and Windows Feature Experience Pack, which are new update methods that allow delivering features and improvements without waiting until the next feature update.