Windows 10 is braced for a major upgrade shift next year

Surface Pro with Windows 10
Image Courtesy: TechRadar

The next update for Windows 10 is titled ’20H2′ and it will be
identical to the already-available May 2020 Update, which was
released on May 27.

After
Windows 10 version 20H2, Microsoft is expected to release
’21H1′ update in the first half of 2021, but we’re now hearing
that Microsoft is internally mulling a new upgrade schedule for
the OS.

The modular OS ‘Windows 10X’ was originally set to RTM this
fall and
Windows 10 21H1 update was set to RTM in Spring 2021, but
Windows 10X has been delayed and it won’t arrive until the Q2
(April/May). As a result, Microsoft has decided to push back
the launch of Windows 10’s April/May 2021 update (also known as
21H1).

In fact, it’s very likely that Windows 10 21H1 won’t happen at
all and Microsoft will shift to an annual release schedule for
2021 and the next update will debut as 21H2 with 21H1 features.

Windows 10 Start Menu upgrade

Here are the bits that we’ve learned from people familiar with
the development:

  • Windows 10 20H1 (version 2004) and 20H2 (version 2009)
    share the same core components and servicing content. 20H1 is
    already available for the public and 20H2 is now being tested
    and will be released this fall.
  • Windows 10 20H1 (version 2004) and 20H2 also share the same
    cumulative Update package. That means you can already enable
    the 20H2 features (Start Menu, Alt-Tab, etc) in version 20H1.
  • Microsoft will use an “enablement package” to turn on 20H2
    features on systems running Windows 10 version 2004 (May 2020
    Update / 20H1).

In Q2 of 2021, Microsoft will deliver the first preview of
Windows 10X, the company’s modular OS designed for
single-screen products. In the second half of 2021, Microsoft
will release Windows 10 21H1/21H2 feature update for the
traditional/current desktop OS.

In theory, if 21H1 is released in the second half, it will be
known as 21H2 on paper, so that means 21H1 won’t happen at all,
as Microsoft is shifting to an annual release schedule.

The current one major, one minor upgrade release cadence is not
the template for 2021 and beyond. This is still one-off and
Microsoft may not invest this kind of time – and these
resources – creating two updates for Windows 10 and one new
modular operating system at the same time.

Windows 10X single screen

Either way, Microsoft has been officially quiet about the
future of Windows 10, not giving the Insiders any real
information. Presumably, Microsoft will share more details next
year when they’ll have the first preview of Windows 10X to show
off.

According to earlier reports, single-screen Windows 10X PCs are
set to arrive in Q2 2021, while dual-screen 10X PCs won’t
arrive until the second half of 2022.

As earlier reported by Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley, Surface
Neo is also delayed until 2022.

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