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Windows 10 to hang on for five more years with 21H2 update

Lots of time for legacy users

Reminding the world that there's more to life than Windows 11, Microsoft has promised a feature update for Windows 10 in the form of 21H2.

It's a little confusing, because the current preview of Windows 11 also calls itself 21H2. It wouldn't be a Windows update without some attempt to baffle users. And goodness, thanks to the hardware requirements of Windows 11, there are going to be rather a lot of Windows 10 users still out there.

Indeed, in a memo announcing the W10 update John Cable, veep of program management for Windows Servicing and Delivery, highlighted the more than 1.3 billion monthly active Windows 10 devices out there, many of which will not be eligible for the new shiny in the latter part of this year.

While Windows 10 21H2 will continue the theme of what Microsoft is calling "a scoped set of features," and what users might call "almost no features," that has been a mainstay of Windows 10 of late, it is a significant release. As well as the usual 18 and 30 months of servicing on offer to Home, Pro, Enterprise and Education customers, 21H2 will also be the basis of the next Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) edition of Windows 10, which will get five years of servicing.

This, in turn, means LTSC users have a tricky decision to make. Stick with the existing Windows 10 2019 LTSC, which lasts until 2029 because it was released before Microsoft decided that LTSC wasn't forever, and certainly not the 10 years of old (unless one was using the IoT version.) Or upgrade, knowing that support for this Windows 10 LTSC will end in 2026.

By which time the kindly software giant doubtless hopes users will have made the move to Windows 11 or signed up for a Windows 365 subscription.

As for the update itself, Windows Insiders on the Release Preview channel (moved from the Beta channel due to hardware incompatibility with Windows 11) will start receiving the new 21H2 builds.

While the rounded corners and controversial Start Menu of Windows 11 is not on the cards, users can expect Wi-Fi security improvements, Windows Hello for Business and GPU compute support in the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) and Azure IoT Edge for Linux on Windows (EFLOW) deployments. ®

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