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How to get the Windows 10 May 2021 Update

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Today marks the beginning of Windows 10, version 21H1 availability. As I noted when we first announced the May 2021 Update in February, we grounded this update on the needs expressed by you, our customers, over the past year of continued remote work, learning and play. The May 2021 Update is purposely scoped to deliver important features that improve security, remote access and quality—and engineered to provide a fast update experience. We have released and evaluated preview builds through the Windows Insider Program over the past months and, based on the feedback gathered from our Insider community, we are now ready to begin a phased rollout. My post today shares details on our measured rollout approach, how you can get the update and some overall information on Windows.

Our approach to update availability and rollout

In the current environment, we know that you continue to rely on your PCs more than ever. As a result, we are initially taking a measured seeker-based approach to the rollout of the May 2021 Update. We are throttling availability up over the coming weeks to ensure a reliable download experience for all, so the update may not be offered to you right away. Additionally, some devices might have a compatibility issue for which a safeguard hold is in place. In these cases, we will not offer the update until we are confident that you will have a good update experience.

How to get the Windows 10 May 2021 Update

The May 2021 Update is available initially to select devices running Windows 10, version 2004 or later who are interested in experiencing the latest feature updates and are ready to install this release on their device. If you would like to install the new release, open your Windows Update settings (Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update) and select Check for updates. If the update appears, you can simply select Download and install to get started. Once the download is complete and the update is ready to install, we’ll notify you so that you can pick the right time to finish the installation and reboot your device, ensuring that the update does not disrupt your activities. Devices running either Windows 10, version 2004 or version 20H2 will have a fast overall update experience because the update will install like a monthly update. For more information on how to get the May 2021 Update, watch this video.  To learn more about the status of the May 2021 Update rollout, safeguard holds and which holds may be applied to your device, visit Windows release health.

Information for commercial customers

As a first half (H1) of the calendar year release, all editions of the May 2021 Update (version 21H1) will receive 18 months of servicing and support beginning today. We recommend that commercial organizations begin targeted deployments to validate that their apps, devices and infrastructure work as expected with the new release. The May 2021 Update is now available through Windows Server Update Services (including Configuration Manager), Windows Update for Business and the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC)[i].  You can find more information on IT tools to support Windows 10, version 21H1.

Our customer first focus

Over the last year, we have shipped three important updates for Windows 10. More importantly, we continue to listen closely to customer feedback to ensure we evolve and adapt Windows to meet your needs today and in the future. In this context, we’ve continued to see fundamental changes in customer needs since we last shared our priorities for Windows in May of 2020.

Following a year-long exploration and engaging in conversations with customers, we realized that the technology of Windows 10X could be useful in more ways and serve more customers than we originally imagined. We concluded that the 10X technology shouldn’t just be confined to a subset of customers.

Instead of bringing a product called Windows 10X to market in 2021 like we originally intended, we are leveraging learnings from our journey thus far and accelerating the integration of key foundational 10X technology into other parts of Windows and products at the company. In fact, some of this is already reflected in the core of Windows in Windows Insider preview builds, for example the new app container technology we’re integrating into products like Microsoft Defender Application Guard, an enhanced Voice Typing experience, and a modernized touch keyboard with optimized key sizing, sounds, colors and animations. Our teams continue to invest in areas where the 10X technology will help meet our customer needs as well as evaluate technology experiences both in software and hardware that will be useful to our customers in the future.

This shift in thinking is an incredible example of the company’s value of a growth mindset at work and exemplifies our customer-first focus.

As with each release, we will closely monitor the May 2021 Update experience and share timely information on the current rollout status and known issues (open and resolved) across both feature and monthly updates via the Windows release health hub and @WindowsUpdate. Please continue to tell us about your experience by providing comments or suggestions via Feedback Hub.

[i] It may take a day for downloads to be fully available in the Volume Licensing Service Center across all products, markets and languages.

 

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