Microsoft’s doc sheds light on upcoming Windows 10 versions

Windows 10 feature updates

Windows 11 or Sun Valley is coming and all the evidence points
to big changes, revamped UI for Start Menu, a new Windows
Store, and more. At Microsoft’s Build 2021 conference, CEO
Satya Nadella revealed that they would unveil the “next
generation of Windows” this year and promised more information
in the coming weeks.

Microsoft has now announced a “what’s-next for Windows” event
for June 24 at 11 am ET and the light shining through the
Windows logo in the teaser looks like an 11. We know
significant changes are coming to the operating system and
famous leaker Evan Blass has also confirmed that Windows 11
could be a thing.

Windows Insiders are currently receiving preview builds from
“co_release” (co = Cobalt) and it’s believed to be part of the

Sun Valley update. However, Sun Valley features have been
stripped out of the preview builds by Microsoft and we’re only
seeing some rounded corners here and there.

Microsoft could split off the next Windows update

Sun Valley features are missing because the company wants to
surprise the consumers by unveiling the whole new Windows Sun
Valley UX/UI at an event on June 24. From Nadella’s
comments and from what we have seen online, we know the company
will do updates a little differently this year.

A new support
document (now edited) suggests that Microsoft could split
this year’s fall Windows update into two versions, one for
consumers and one for business and enterprise customers. This
is mostly speculation at this point, but we do have reasons to
believe this theory.

Windows 10 21H2 leak

As you can see in the above screenshot of support
documentation, the company appears to be experimenting with two
versions of the OS under the same codename 21H2 —
21H2 (minor update) and
CO21H2 (CO = Cobalt, Sun Valley).

Windows 10 upcoming versions

We’ve also spotted some hard evidence of enablement package for
version 21H2 in a new preview cumulative update for Windows 10
version 21H1.

Inside the
KB5003214 (Build 19043.1023), a preview update which was
released on May 25, we found references to version “21H2”. It’s
even possible to switch the current installation of the May
2021 Update (version 21H1) to Build 19044 / version
by running some scripts.

Windows 10 21H2
21H2 “Build 19044” activated in latest cumulative update for
version 21H1

This again suggests that the company wants to split the fall
update into two parts, one for the consumers with Sun Valley
changes and one for business/enterprises with quality

It is likely that the update for enterprises will be triggered
by an enablement switch, just like the previous May 2021

  • Sun Valley update (Windows 11?) with builds in 21K range
    for consumers, arriving later this year.
  • Version 21H2 update with builds in 19044 range for
    enterprise customers, arriving later this year.

Microsoft will apparently continue to maintain the current look
of Windows 10 for enterprise customers and the release of a
minor service pack style update will give enterprises
additional time to prepare their clients for Windows 11 / Sun
Valley makeover.

Enterprise doesn’t care about the new user interface and
they’ll want to stick with Windows 10. As a result, Microsoft
could split off the fall update or allow businesses to turn off
the new UI. This would give enterprise customers additional
time to prepare for Windows 11 / Sun Valley.

While Sun Valley / Windows 11 update will introduce a new look
for consumers, we don’t know anything about the new features
for those sticking with Windows 10 version 21H2.

That’s because the Windows Insider Program isn’t the same as it
was a few years ago. In late 2019, Microsoft leadership said
Dev Channel (Fast Ring) is no longer tied to a specific Windows
10 release and we don’t know when a feature added in a preview
build is going to ship to consumers.

Remember that this is mostly speculation at this point and the
information may be outdated, but the theory does make sense.

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