Windows 10

A Windows 10 20H2 cumulative update released to Insiders on the ‘Release’ channel leaked that the next feature updated will be 21H1.

When Microsoft releases new feature updates, it typically alternates between releasing them as a full-featured update or a small enablement package, which simply turns on dormant features already built into Windows 10.

As the last feature update was Windows 10 20H2 and was distributed as an enablement package, the thought was the Windows 10 21H1 would be released as a full feature update.

Unfortunately, Microsoft has been very quiet about its upcoming servicing plans for Windows 10, including the name of the next feature update and its features.

Update leaks info on next feature update

As first reported by Deskmodder.de, Microsoft released the ‘2021-01 Cumulative Update Preview for Windows 10 Version 20H2 (KB4598291)’ update to the Windows Insider ‘Release’ channel yesterday. With this update installed, Windows 10 20H2 will be incremented to build 19042.782

When installed, Deskmodder noticed that the updated added an enablement package titled ‘Microsoft-Windows-21H1Enablement-Package~31bf3856ad364e35~amd64~~0.0.0.0’ to the following Registry key.

HKLMSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionComponent Based ServicingPackageDetect

The name of this package, shown below, indicates that the Windows 10 21H1 update will not be a full feature update and will simply be a small package that turns on disabled features in Windows 10.

Registry editor showing Windows 10 20H1 enablement package
Registry editor showing Windows 10 20H1 enablement package

As Windows 10 21H1 will be installed via a small enablement package, the feature update will install quickly for users running Windows 10 2004 or 20H2. Users running older versions of Windows 10 will require the full update, which will take much longer as it will likely be 2-4 GB in size.

As this update was rolled out this week to Insiders, we should expect it to roll out to Windows 10 users next week as January’s optional preview update.

It is still unknown when Windows 10 20H1 will be released, but it is expected in March or April 2021, with users potentially getting a preview earlier.

Some of the expected, but not confirmed, features in Windows 10 21H1 include DNS over HTTPS, the ‘Architecture’ column in Task Manager, a ‘What’s new?’ section in Tips, and better GPU settings.