Microsoft today announced the general availability of Windows 10 November 2021, also known as version 21H2, which includes new security, management, and virtualization features.
Microsoft reiterated that Windows 10 will continue to receive support until October 2025 and said that the Windows 10 release cadence will join Windows 11 to return to a single feature update a year from now on.
The company also posted a comparison online of functions between the latest version of Windows 10 21H2 and Windows 11.
The catalyst for the move to Windows 10 is its successor, Windows 11, which debuted on October 5. Windows 11, which will have its own modified service model: one feature update per year with 36 months of support for those running Enterprise or Education. SKU: It will replace the old Windows 10 as the repository for the new one.
For IT professionals
Starting with security, Windows 10 21H2 sees changes to the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) VPN APIs, including the ability to implement common web-based authentication schemes and reuse existing protocols.
Version 21H2 also supports Wi-Fi 6 with the Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 Hash-to-Element (WPA3 H2E) protocol to provide better protection against Wi-Fi side channel attacks that could steal Wi-Fi passwords. -Fi and other confidential information.
“In a hybrid work situation, users will now be able to keep their web traffic encrypted when connected to open networks or home networks,” wrote Alan Meeus, Windows 10 Product Manager, in a blog post.
Windows 10 21H2 also provides security updates for the following products and features: Windows AI Platform, Windows Application Platform and Frameworks, Windows Applications, Windows Cryptography, Windows Fundamentals, Windows Input and Composition, Windows Kernel , Windows Media, Windows Office Media and Windows Virtualization.
Microsoft has also updated Windows 10 to allow application provisioning from Azure Virtual Desktop. This allows those applications to run as local applications, including the ability to copy and paste between remote and local applications. (The functionality is also available in Windows 11.)
In terms of new management features, Microsoft said it worked to bridge the gap between group policy and mobile device management (MDM) settings. The device configuration settings catalog has been updated to list over 1,400 settings that were previously unavailable for configuration through MDM. The new MDM policies include Administrative Template (ADMX) policies such as App Compat, Event Forwarding, Service, and Task Scheduler.
(The same changes were made for Windows 11 to allow for a consistent policy management experience between the two platforms.)
Windows 10 Enterprise
An upgrade to Windows 10 Enterprise includes Universal Print, which now supports print jobs up to 1 GB or a series of individual user print jobs totaling up to 1 GB in any 15 minute period.
Additionally, Universal Print integrates with OneDrive for web and Excel for web. This allows users of any Internet-connected browser or device to print documents hosted on OneDrive for web on a printer in your organization without installing printer drivers on their devices. Universal Print will also be updated in late 2021 to support printing from Microsoft Excel for the web.
For organizations with special-purpose devices and environments, such as manufacturing or healthcare systems, or for those with other longer-term device update stability needs, Microsoft released a new version for the Long-term Service Channel. – Long-term service channel: Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2021.
Windows 10 21H2 is now available through Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) and Windows Update for Business. It can be downloaded from Visual Studio subscriptions, the Software Download Center (via Update Assistant or the media creation tool), and Volume Licensing Service Center).
To support the new version, Microsoft has released updated versions of the following tools:
- Administrative Templates (.admx) for Windows 10 21H2: natively though
accessible via the C: Windows PolicyDefinitions folder on Windows, the administrative template files can be downloaded separately and used to complete the policy configuration in the Group Policy tools user interface, which allows you to manage registry-based policy settings.
- Group policy settings reference spreadsheet for Windows 10 21H2: List of policy settings for computer and user settings included in the ADMX files delivered for Windows 10, version 21H2.
- Windows 10 Enterprise Evaluation: For IT professionals interested in testing Windows 10 Enterprise on behalf of their organization, Microsoft offers a free 90-day evaluation Windows 10 21H2 and Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2021.
Microsoft is also updating resources for managing and deploying updates in an organization, including:
- Windows launch clinic – The fastest way to stay updated on news, announcements and best practices related to updates; Important lifecycle and status reminders of known issues and security holds. Windows 10 Enterprise customers can access more details from the Health menu in the Microsoft 365 admin center (see “Windows version status”) and receive important notifications and updates in the message center.
- Windows 10 launch information – A list of current versions of Windows 10 by service options, along with release dates, build numbers, service end dates, and release history.
- Windows 10 21H2 Update History – A list of all updates (monthly and out-of-band) released for Windows 10 21H2, arranged in reverse chronological order. These updates will be available with the first service release.
- X64 emulation for Windows on Arm.
Microsoft said it has received questions about the status of x64 emulation on Windows 10. As of now, the update for x64 emulation for Windows is generally only available on Windows 11. For those interested in using x64 emulation, a PC running Windows 11 on Arm is required.
The new Microsoft Store It started rolling out on Windows 10 PCs on November 10. Microsoft said it rebuilt the store to offer a more modern design and “intuitive search experience to create a more open and cost-effective environment for developers.”
The November 2021 update is initially available for users with devices running Windows 10, version 2004 or later available. All editions of Windows 10 2004 will end service on December 14, 2021, while Enterprise and Education editions of Windows 10 1909 will end service on May 10, 2022. After those dates, devices running versions 1909 and 2004 does not Receive monthly security and quality updates that contain protections against the latest security threats.
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