Which is the next Windows version

Spring Update 21H1: This is new in Windows 10

Panagiotis Kolokythas, Peter Stelzel-Morawietz

The next version of Windows 10 is ready. Update 21H1 does not offer groundbreaking functions - but there are some useful innovations such as SSD monitoring in the system. We'll tell you what to expect.

EnlargeMicrosoft announces Windows 10 version 21H1

After the first little hints earlier this week, Microsoft has now officially announced the new feature update for Windows 10 in this blog post. This also officially confirms that this spring update is called Windows 10 Version 21H1. And that it is a rather small update and thus breaks with the tradition according to which the larger Windows 10 feature updates were previously delivered in the spring and then the rather smaller function updates followed in the fall.

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Microsoft also emphasizes in the blog post that with 21H1 a spring feature update with the "optimized way using the maintenance technology" will be provided for the first time, while the "semi-annual feature update cadence" will continue. The users receive Windows 10 Version 21H1 - like Windows 10 Version 20H2 - directly via Windows Update in the form of a cumulative update, which reduces the effort involved in updating the operating system.

The feature update is ultimately installed as it is already the case with the monthly Windows 10 maintenance updates. The corresponding requirements for Windows 10 Version 21H1 are met by update KB4023057, which has been delivered via Windows Update for a few days and which we reported on in this article earlier this week. It is assumed that the users are already using at least Windows 10 Version 2004 or Windows 10 Version 20H2. For users of older Windows 10 versions, the installation effort is similar to that of earlier Windows 10 feature updates, before they benefit from the accelerated update procedure from the next feature update onwards.

Windows 10 Version 21H1: The most important new features

As far as the most important new features of Windows 10 Version 21H1 are concerned, these are less extensive and exciting than the spring updates of recent years. "Windows 10, version 21H1 will have a number of functions that improve security, remote access and quality," the developers said.

The assumption is that the Windows 10 developers prefer to concentrate first on the completion of Windows 10X, which should be completed in the next few weeks and will be launched in the first half of the year.

Where's the new user interface?

EnlargeThe so-called dark mode, which was previously limited to the Windows search, can now also be used for apps of the operating system: Settings, Explorer and so on.

Until you can work with the refreshed design, the new start menu and info center as well as the dark mode support for other areas, you will have to be patient. After all, you can transfer inverted displays to the standard apps in the spring update of Windows 10. The dark mode is no longer limited to searching in the start menu of the computer.

Microsoft does not mention details of the new interface in its current roadmap, where it still only says "shipping in 2021". Overall, the project called "Sun Valley" should be based on the planned Windows 10x, which will probably appear this spring. Note: Windows 10x can also be tried out in advance using the Microsoft Emulator from the Microsoft Store, but this is quite time-consuming.

EnlargeCan you tell the difference? In contrast to the current start menu, the icons are now free and no longer framed in a square. The Vive Tool makes it possible now.

Windows 10 already gets a somewhat modern start menu with cut-out icons with the spring update. If you want, you can even get it now on your PC with the Vive Tool. To do this, start the command prompt (cmd) with administrator rights after unzipping the zip file of the Vive Tool, switch to the unpacking folder using the cd command, then type the command “ Vivetool.exe addconfig 23615618 2 “And restart the PC. This gives you the new start menu. The parameter "1" at the end (instead of "2") restores the previous design.

Disk in the Settings app and with SSD monitoring

So far, the disk management ("create and format hard disk partitions") still showed an old-fashioned design; In future, it can also be used with slightly reduced functions in the Settings app ("Manage data storage devices and volumes"). There you can change the name and size of partitions, format data carriers, create new hard disk areas, assign a drive letter to them and restrict access using Bitlocker encryption. The new tool not only looks more modern, it also requires fewer confirmations and is faster.

EnlargeThe "Properties" button in the new data carrier app takes you to the Windows 10 integrity check, which continuously checks NVMe hard drives in M.2 format for errors.

A very sensible innovation only becomes visible at second glance, because the new app initially only shows “error-free” as the status of the data carrier. However, if you click on the data carrier entry itself instead of the drop-down icon for partition selection, the “Properties” button appears: For SSDs with NVMe protocol, it shows the “estimated remaining service life” and the “available reserve”. Windows 10 will therefore monitor the data carrier in the future without an additional tool. If there is a risk of defects, a warning appears. Magnetic hard drives and SATA flash storage are still not checked; you need software such as Crystaldiskinfo here.