If I didn’t know better I would say Windows 10 21H2 is shy.
Since its announcement in July, it has been eclipsed by its new replacement, Windows 11 21H2. Finally, however, Windows 10 21H2 was released.
This does not mean that I recommend users to install it immediately. I prefer a more measured approach and want to wait a bit to make sure my suppliers are ready for it. So now is a good time to go through your hardware to make sure you don’t have machines on older platforms that are hardly supported anymore. So let’s take a look at what’s still supported, how long it will be supported, and which version of Windows you should consider migrating to.
Of the released and supported versions of Windows 10 currently supported for Home and Professional users, 21H1 is now officially considered to be in full deployment (as of November 3) and will be supported until December 13, 2022. for Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Home. Professional. Windows 10 20H2 is supported until May 10, 2022. And finally, Windows 10 2004 is the version that I urge you to upgrade to ASAP; it is no longer supported in less than a month: December 14. Windows 10 2004 will receive its last update on this date. To stay protected, you’ll need to make sure your Windows 10 setup is upgraded to 8:20 or 9:21 after that date. (Microsoft has indicated that it “will continue to support at least one Windows 10 Semi-Annual Channel until October 14, 2025.”
Windows 10 Enterprise and Education versions have a slight divergence in support timelines. Although Windows 10 2004 aligns with Home and Professional (and loses support on December 14), Windows 10 1909, which is actually older, is still supported until May 10, 2022. Windows 10 20H2 is supported until May 9, 2023, a year after its Home and Professional counterparts, and Windows 10 21H1 is supported until December 13, 2022, which matches its Home and Professional counterparts.
Why different dates? Because the Spring versions of Enterprise and Education have much longer lifecycle support than the Home and Professional versions.
If you are a home user waiting to install 21H1, keep in mind that I have seen several PCs that have never been pushed to later feature versions. (This especially happens if your machine is turned off more often than it is online.) I highly recommend that you click on Start> Settings> System and About and check the version you have installed. You may find a machine that is not on the latest supported feature version even though you thought it was up to date. Or you can find one that is offered a feature version that has not yet been installed. For these PCs, if you don’t see that 21H1 is specifically offered, use the registry key method to set the targeted release version. This will ensure that Windows Update only offers that specific version (21H1) and not 21H2.
Before I deploy a feature version I always make sure I have a valid backup so if I need to roll back to the previous version I can. Then I delay the installation, thinking that all the problems will be detected by the time I go ahead. My policy is not to be the first to deploy a feature release, nor the last to be on a feature release.
For enterprise deployments, you have different options for deploying Windows 10, ranging from Windows Software Update Services to Intune, to a simple script to deploy the feature version. During the early years of Windows 10 deployment, I would often take Windows 10 ISO and pull it over the network. Then I would use a script to silently deploy it over the network and initiate a reboot. This would ensure that the installation would be after hours and not be disruptive. Plus, I could stage it all over the office and perform installations at different times and for different areas, rolling out versions of features over time.
For example, you can use the following script to deploy the currently released feature version:
$webClient = New-Object System.Net.WebClient
$file = "$($dir)Win10Upgrade.exe"
Start-Process -FilePath $file -ArgumentList '/quietinstall /skipeula /auto upgrade /copylogs $dir'
The last line indicates that the installation will run silently and will not disturb users with final configuration questions.
Recently, the Far West System Management group hosted an online meeting to discuss the management and deployment of Windows 11. Basically, you can use the same tools that you use to manage and deploy feature versions of Windows 10 for Windows. 11. These four sessions can be viewed online, including presentations by Aria carley, senior product manager, Microsoft; Michael niehaus, Product Manager, Tanium; Mike Danoski, product manager, Microsoft; Max Stein, Intune Support Team, Microsoft; and Johan arwidmark, technical member, 2Pint Software. If you are an IT professional, I highly recommend that you take the time to review these videos. And remember, Windows 11 will have an annual feature release process, not the biannual release cadence like Windows 10.
Conclusion: 21H2 is out, but don’t install it immediately. Instead, use it as a sign that you should evaluate which feature version you’re currently on and how many months you have before it goes down. It will be time to have 9:00 p.m. later.
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