Windows 10 version 21H1 update aka Windows 10 May 2021 update is the next feature update for Windows 10 targeted at April/May 2021. On this page, we have collated all the probable changes and new features Windows 10 version 21H1 update may bring.

Just keep in mind that not all of the features and changes listed on this page may make it to the final release build of Windows 10 21H1. You can bookmark this page to refer back to see the collated changelog for Windows 10 version 21H1 update.

Windows 10 version 21H1 update: Release Date

As per our sources, Windows 10 version 21H1 update will RTM in February/March 2021. This will be followed by a public release in April/May 2021 via cumulative update and enablement package route.

Windows 10 version 21H1 update new features:

Improving DNS configuration in Settings:

We’re making a few changes to the Network section in Settings.

Making DNS settings more easily accessible: Editing your DNS server assignment is now a top-level option when you go into your network’s properties page.

Encrypted DNS controls in the Settings app: Encrypted DNS (DNS over HTTPS, or DoH) can help increase privacy and security while browsing the web. You can now configure DoH directly in the Settings app to more easily take advantage of this feature:

  • For ethernet connections: Go to Settings > Network & Internet > Status. Select Properties, then select Edit IP assignment or Edit DNS server assignment, and it will be available in the popup.
  • For Wi-Fi connections: Go to Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi. Select the adapter properties link, then select Edit IP assignment or Edit DNS server assignment, and it will be available in the popup. Currently you will not see the encryption options if you go to the individual network’s property page.

You can add any IP address listed here to unlock the DoH dropdown and choose to use encryption. Once encryption is enabled, you can confirm it’s working by looking at the applied DNS servers in the network properties and see them labeled as “(Encrypted)” servers. If you want to try a custom DoH server we don’t recognize yet, you can configure an IP address to be recognized as a DoH server by using the netsh command documented here at the end of the blog post.

The new Edit Network DNS settings popup in Settings.The new Edit Network DNS settings popup in Settings.

Bringing Disk Management into Settings:

We mentioned we had more Settings work on the way, and here’s the next one – as of today’s build you’ll now be able to manage your disks and volumes from within the Settings app. This includes tasks such as viewing disk information, creating and formatting volumes, and assigning drive letters.

Unlike the existing Disk Management MMC snap-in, this modern experience was built from the ground up to with accessibility in mind. It also features better integration with features such as Storage Spaces and the Storage breakdown page.

Go to Settings > System > Storage and select Manage Disks and Volumes to get started. We’d love to hear your feedback once you try it out.

The Manage Disks and Volumes page in Settings. C drive is selected and shows Explorer and Properties options.The Manage Disks and Volumes page in Settings. C drive is selected and shows Explorer and Properties options.

The existing Disk Management MMC snap-in is still available for those that need it.

Improved Graphics Settings experience:

While this isn’t a new feature all together, we have made significant changes based on customer feedback that will benefit our customers’ Graphics Settings experience. We have made the following improvements:

  • We’ve updated the Graphics Settings to allow users to specify a default high performance GPU.
  • We’ve updated the Graphics Settings to allow users to pick a specific GPU on a per application basis.

If you’re a power user that has multiple high performance GPUs and would like to specify which of those GPUs should be the one used for high performance uses cases, you can now do that by going to Settings > System > Display > Graphics settings or Settings > Gaming > Graphics settings. What this means is that an application that asks for a high-performance GPU will by default use the high-performance GPU you specify on this page.

Default high performance GPU selection page.Default high performance GPU selection page.

Now if you want even more control, we have also added the ability for you to specify exactly which GPU you want an app to run on using the new “Specific GPU” option. As you can see below, an application can be set to run on your GPU of choice.

The new per-application specific GPU selection option.The new per-application specific GPU selection option.

File Skill in Cortana:

Windows Insiders can now use Cortana on their PCs to find and open files. They’ll save time by not having to navigate to apps or folders to locate the information they’re looking for.

Enterprise users who sign into Cortana with their corporate credentials (e.g., AAD) can search for files saved on OneDrive For Business and SharePoint along with files saved locally on their PCs (this setting is at Settings > Search > Searching Windows). Users using a Microsoft account (e.g., ending with Outlook.com or Hotmail.com) can use Cortana to find files saved on their PCs. This feature is currently available to our English-speaking users in U.S.

Showing Cortana displaying files in response to a “find recent files” query.

Try and use Cortana to open or search files by:

  • Parts of file names (Example: “Hey Cortana, opening marketing deck.”)
  • Author names (Example: “Hey Cortana, open budget Excel from Anthony”)
  • Find a document you have been editing (Example: “Hey Cortana, find my recent files”)
  • Find a document of a particular type (Example: “Hey Cortana, find my recent pdfs”)

Enhancing your defrag experience:

We’re making a few changes to the Optimize Drives page (Settings > System > Storage > Optimize Drives), including:

  • Adding a new “Advanced View” checkbox to list all volumes including hidden volumes. Please note we’re still getting this one up and running, so you’ll see the checkbox in this build, but may not notice any differences when you click it.
  • The new “Advanced View” checkbox in Optimize Drives is now up and running and checking it will display volumes previously not visible in this window (for example system and recovery partitions).
  • Listing more details in the “Current status” column when volumes are not available for defrag (for example, “Partition type not supported” and “File system type not supported”).
  • Adding support for pressing F5 to refresh.

Change Refresh Rate of your display:

You can now go to Settings > System > Display > Advanced display settings and change the refresh rate of your selected display. A higher refresh rate allows for smoother motion. The presented refresh rates can vary with the supported hardware on your device.

Showing the new refresh rate dropdown in Advanced Display Settings.

Improving your search experience:

We’re rolling out a change to display some of your recent searches when you open Windows Search Box, to make them easy to get back to. This change is rolling out server-side to everyone on version 1903 and higher:

    • The recent list shows the last four items that you’ve searched for and opened from Windows Search Box, which can include apps, files, settings, and direct-nav URLs (for example, like “bing.com”).
    • You can remove individual items in this list by clicking the “x” that shows when you hover your mouse over the items.
    • You can disable the Recent feature by turning off the Windows setting “Search history on this device” under Settings > Search > Permissions and History.
    • If you’ve not used Windows Search Box before and have 0 recent items, the recent list will be hidden.
      If you don’t use Windows Search Box often and have fewer than 2 items in the recent list, an educational string will display in the area to let you know what types of items will appear in the list.

Showing Search, with Top Apps, Quick Searches, and now, newly a Recent section.

Storage health monitoring to protect user data:

NVMe SSD properties page in Storage Settings, emphasis on the Drive health section, showing a drive health warning.

Attempting to recover data after drive failure is both frustrating and expensive. This feature is designed to detect hardware abnormalities for NVMe SSDs and notify users with enough time to act. It is strongly recommended that users immediately back up their data after receiving a notification.

Image of toast notification sent to users when NVMe SSD abnormalities are detected.Image of toast notification sent to users when NVMe SSD abnormalities are detected.

Clicking on the notification or navigating to the drive properties page in Storage Settings (Settings -> System -> Storage -> Manage disks and volumes -> Properties) will provide additional details.

Other changes and features:

  • Based on Insider feedback, you can now use the built-in screen snipping experience in Windows (WIN + SHIFT + S) to create a snip of your screen and paste it directly into a folder of your choice in File Explorer to save the screenshot there. Try it out!
  • Using the touch keyboard in a portrait posture on a 2-in-1 touch device now supports split keyboard mode.
  • Meet Now in the Windows 10 Taskbar is now available to all Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel. Please note: Meet Now in the Windows 10 Taskbar will not show up for users logged in to their PC with an AAD account and/or on the Windows 10 Enterprise edition.
  • We’re starting to roll out a change to enable displaying graphics card information listed under Settings > System > About, and some Insiders may see this on their PCs.
  • When you have a PWA installed from Microsoft Edge, Task Manager will now correctly display it under Applications instead of Background Processes in the Processes tab, and will show the app icon associated with the PWA.
  • We’re updating File Explorer so that if you right-click on a zipped OneDrive file that was set to online-only, you’ll now see an Extract All option, same as if the file was available locally on the PC.
  • We’re updating the new DNS options in Settings to make a static DNS entry required when entering a static IP, and to make gateway not a required field.