UPDATED 11/15/21: Microsoft provides different types of updates for Windows 11, including “quality updates” and “feature updates” to fix security vulnerabilities, resolve bugs, improve system performance, and deliver new features. Since updates can be challenging to track, this guide will help you understand the difference between quality and feature updates. You’ll also find the history of every update for Windows 11 grouped by releases accompanied by details, such as build and knowledge base (KB) number, release date, and release number.
Windows 11 quality vs. feature update
Quality updates (also called “cumulative updates”) are those updates that Windows 11 downloads every month automatically through Windows Update. These updates are cumulative and include the new fixes and enhancements as well as the previously available patches (if the computer needs them).
Typically, Microsoft releases these maintenance updates every second Tuesday of the month. Also referred to as “Patch Tuesday” or “Update Tuesday.” Internally, these updates are known as the “B” release because they roll out during the second week of the month. These types of updates include security fixes and non-security fixes.
In addition to the B release, Microsoft also makes available two more updates, including the “C” and “D” releases during the third and fourth week of the month. These updates are optional and contain non-security fixes expected to arrive in the next Patch Tuesday update.
Microsoft also provides updates outside of the regular schedule, and they’re referred to as “on-demand updates.” Usually, these are emergency releases containing fixes that can’t wait for the next monthly update.
Finally, there are the “optional updates,” which are updates that are not critical but may be necessary for other functionalities. Usually, these updates can include packages for Microsoft and non-Microsoft products, and third-party drivers (such as for printers, cameras, and network adapters).
Feature updates are released once a year, and they represent new versions of Windows 11. Unlike quality updates, they include new features and enhancements, and they require reinstallation.
Furthermore, these new versions of Windows are optional, meaning that they don’t automatically download and install until you trigger the process manually through Windows Update. However, if you have a version nearing the end of service, the upgrade will automatically happen.
Microsoft makes new versions of Windows 11 available during the fall (October).
Windows 11 current version information
Windows 11 version 21H2 is the most current release today. This feature update is known as the original release, it’s been available since October 5, 2021, and the latest quality update is “build 22000.318.” You can use these instructions to check the version installed on your computer. If you want to determine the quality updates already been applied to your computer, use these instructions.
Below you will find the latest Windows 11 update history information for version 21H2 and future releases.
- Windows 11 21H2 update history
- Install quality updates on Windows 11
- Install optional updates on Windows 11
Windows 11 21H2 update history
Windows 11 version 21H2 (original release) is the first version of the OS released on October 5, 2021.
In this section, you’ll find the history for all the quality updates and links to find out the details about each quality update.
If you have already installed the new feature update, the initial release was “build 22000.194,” and the latest version is Windows 11 build 22000.318.
|Release date||Build number||Knowledge Base||Notes|
|2||November 9, 2021||22000.318||KB5007215||Initial release.
|1||October 12, 2021||22000.258||KB5006674||Initial release.
Check the Windows Insider Program build release history for version 21H1.
Install quality updates on Windows 11
To download and install the latest updates on Windows 11, use these steps:
Once you complete the steps, Windows Update will download and install all the available updates on your device.
Install optional updates on Windows 11
To download and install optional updates on Windows 11, use these steps:
Click on Windows Update.
Click the Advanced options page on the right side.
Under the “Advanced options” section, click the Optional updates page on the right side.
Check the optional updates to download.
Click the Download and install button.
Once you complete the steps, the package you selected will download and install automatically on the computer.