Microsoft begins rolling out Windows 10, version 21H1

Microsoft said in a blog post Tuesday that it is beginning to roll out the latest semi-annual update to its Windows 10 operating system. It is not packed with major new capabilities. Rather, it offers PCs a few more quality improvements.

The company continues to take a more careful approach to its Windows business, which generates about 14% of the company’s revenue. With more than 1.3 billion devices running, Windows 10 remains the top desktop operating system, with a 59% share in April, according to data from NetMarketShare.

After introducing Windows 10 in 2015, Microsoft has spent the last few years expanding it with updates, such as tools for creating three-dimensional objects, applying photo filters, and specifying parts of speech on websites. Two updates came out each year, while Apple’s MacOS and iOS and Google’s Android got only one.

Microsoft set the pace of development in 2019 when it issued a regular update in the first half of the year and followed it up in the second half with a performance-focused update. In 2020, when users migrated from Windows 7, the company repeated that strategy. Now comes another quality-oriented update with the release of Windows 10 May 2021 Update, also known as version 21H1, for the first half of 2021.

Panos Panay, the company’s chief product officer, announced last May, amid the coronavirus pandemic that forced people to work from home and meet colleagues through their devices, that people were spending 75% more than time per month in Windows 10 that were in the previous year. Microsoft also reported unusually rapid growth in consumer PC Windows license sales over the past four quarters. Microsoft won’t make all those committed Windows users learn a lot more software features this time.

These are the important changes coming in version 21H1:

  • The Windows Defender application protection system, which opens Office files and safely displays websites by running them in secure containers, will perform better. For example, Microsoft said it fixed an issue that caused a container to consume about 1GB of RAM while the container was idle.
  • Addresses an issue that caused system administrator updates to Active Directory to roll out slowly to user PCs.
  • When a PC has more than one camera that can use the Windows Hello feature to securely log in via facial recognition, Windows will now set the external one as the default, instead of the internal one.
  • The Edge web browser that was originally part of Windows 10 will be removed, now that there is a new version based on the Chromium engine, which Microsoft included in the Windows 10 update last fall. Support for the original version ended on March 9. As a result, when you click the Home button and search for Edge, you will not be shown two different browsers and inadvertently open the previous one.

Windows 10 users can check if the update is available for their PCs by opening the Settings app, choosing the Update & Security section, navigating to Windows Update, and hitting the Check for updates button. It is also possible to download the new version as a disk image and install it on a PC with a USB stick or DVD.

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