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How to start testing Windows 10 version 21H1

Windows 10 21H1 Insider Preview image with black laptop and pink background

Yesterday, Microsoft finally announced Windows 10 version 21H1 after months and months of complete radio silence around the update. As expected, it's a minor update that will come in the form of an enablement package, just like version 20H2 did.

The official reason that it's another minor update was because so many people are still working from home and Microsoft didn't want to disrupt them with a major update. But being that the firm left us to dig up our own information on this update for so long, we actually know that that's not the case. It's the second minor update in a row because Windows 10X was supposed to ship last fall, and it was delayed.

If you want to start testing out Windows 10 version 21H1, you can do it right now, and it's really easy to get started. You just need to do two things:

  1. Enroll your PC in the Beta channel of the Windows Insider Program. You can do this by going to Settings -> Update & security -> Windows Insider Program.
  2. Check for updates, and then when the option is presented, opt into installing Windows 10 version 21H1.

That's it, and not only is it super easy, but it's also super fast. As mentioned earlier, it's just an enablement package, which is a very small update that bumps up the build number to 19043, and lights up some features. Note that the update doesn't actually include any new features. It lights up features that are already there.

Microsoft said that 21H1 will go live some time in the first half of this year, and when that happens, all supported versions of Windows 10 - 2004, 20H2, and 21H1 - will get the exact same cumulative updates. So don't forget, those production versions are getting the same bits as Insiders; it's just that Insiders have that enablement package that lights up the new features.

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