Microsoft has informed Windows 10 users that they will no longer see major updates to the operating system every six months.
The company has previously announced that Windows 11 would introduce an annual update period, with key features released only once a year. It will now set Windows 10 to the same release period after the release of the November 2021 update (21H2).
“We’re moving to a new Windows 10 release pace to align with the Windows 11 pace and targeting annual feature update releases,” Microsoft said in a blog post.
“We will now rename the release service option to the General Availability Channel as of the November 2021 update (Note: this will replace the service’s previous semi-annual channel.) The next Windows 10 feature update will be released in the second half of 2022.
In reality, it is highly unlikely that new features will be developed for Windows 10 alone. The best thing Windows 10 owners can hope for is that the features developed for Windows 11 will also be ported to the older operating system.
Many of the boot features in Windows 11 have been quietly added to Windows 10, including a revamped Microsoft Store and direct storage support that improves game performance on systems with high-performance SSDs.
How long does Windows 10 support last?
The Microsoft blog also introduces a curious change in terminology when it comes to how long Windows 10 will be supported.
Microsoft had previously announced that Windows 10 will be supported until the end of 2025, but a new blog post states that “we will continue to support at least one version of Windows 10 until October 14, 2025.”
There are several versions of Windows 10, including Home and Pro, and Enterprise and Education. The latter two have longer support periods, and Microsoft promises to support this latest November release for 18 months on the Home and Pro versions and 30 months on the Enterprise and Education versions.
The promise to support “at least one version” until the cut-off date suggests that not all four will reach the finish line, although it seems highly unlikely that Microsoft will cut the most used home version before the 2025 deadline.
Windows 10 users certainly won’t get much excited about the 21H2 upgrade.
A limited set of new features added to Windows 10 includes support for a more secure Wi-Fi standard, improved support for passwordless logins, and better GPU performance for those running the Windows subsystem on Linux. Honestly, most Windows 10 users don’t notice anything.
The 21H2 update will be offered gradually to Windows 10 users through Windows Update over the coming weeks. If you desperately want to update your system, you can manually check it by going to Settings> Update and Security> Windows Update and selecting Check for Updates.
Be careful: you may be offered an upgrade to Windows 11 here. If you don’t want a new operating system – and there’s no particular reason to upgrade to Windows 11 – be sure to run the upgrade on this screen.