What is the difference between Windows 10 21H1 and 21H2?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

Windows 10, version 21H2, also known as the Windows 10 November 2021 Update, builds upon the features and fixes introduced in the previous cumulative updates to Windows 10, version 21H1. In this article, I will discuss the differences between these two versions of Windows 10.

1. Feature Updates: Windows 10, version 21H1 was a minor feature update that focused primarily on quality improvements, security enhancements, and bug fixes. On the other hand, Windows 10, version 21H2 introduces several notable features and enhancements that enhance the overall user experience.

2. Start Menu: The Start Menu in Windows 10, version 21H2 has received a visual overhaul, with a new design that includes a more streamlined and simplified layout. It also introduces a new weather widget that provides real-time weather updates directly from the taskbar.

3. Taskbar: Windows 10, version 21H2 brings some changes to the taskbar as well. It introduces a new “News and Interests” feature that allows users to quickly access personalized news, weather, and other information directly from the taskbar. This feature can be customized to show the content you are interested in, such as sports, stocks, or entertainment news.

4. Virtual Desktops: Windows 10, version 21H2 includes improvements to virtual desktops, making it easier to manage and navigate multiple desktops. It introduces a new feature called “Snap Layouts” that enables users to quickly organize and snap windows into different layouts across multiple monitors or virtual desktops. This feature enhances productivity by allowing users to easily switch between different tasks and workspaces.

5. Gaming Enhancements: For gamers, Windows 10, version 21H2 introduces several gaming enhancements. It includes support for Auto HDR, which automatically adds high dynamic range (HDR) to DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 games without requiring developers to manually implement it. This results in improved visuals and a more immersive gaming experience. Additionally, this update includes updates to DirectStorage, a technology that reduces game loading times by leveraging the capabilities of NVMe solid-state drives (SSDs).

6. Security and Performance Improvements: Windows 10, version 21H2 includes various security and performance improvements. It enhances security with features like Windows Hello for Business multicamera support, Windows Defender Application Guard improvements, and enhancements to Windows Defender System Guard. It also introduces performance improvements for Windows Defender Application Guard, allowing for faster launch times and improved performance.

7. Other Enhancements: Windows 10, version 21H2 introduces several other smaller enhancements and updates. These include improvements to the Microsoft Edge browser, better support for touch keyboards, updated support for WPA3 H2E standards for Wi-Fi connections, and improvements to Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Group Policy Service (GPSVC) updating performance.

Windows 10, version 21H2 brings significant feature updates, including a redesigned Start Menu, taskbar enhancements, improvements to virtual desktops, gaming enhancements, security and performance improvements, and various other updates. It builds upon the foundation of Windows 10, version 21H1, and aims to provide a more refined and enhanced user experience.