Windows 10 May 2021 Update (21H1) released (May 18, 2021)

Windows[German]The long wait is over for impatient Windows 10 users. Microsoft has released the so-called Windows 10 May 2021 Update on May 18, 2021. This version 21H1 is the first feature update for the year 2021, but brings almost no innovations compared to previous versions like Windows 10 20H2. Nevertheless, here is a short overview of what you might want to know.


Windows 10 Mai 2021 Update (21H1)

Windows 10 Mai 2021 Update is internally version 21H1, the first feature update for the year 2021. The name Windows 10 May 2021 Update was already announced a few weeks ago by Microsoft so quite incidentally (see the blog post Microsoft is preparing Windows 10 Mai 2021 Update (21H1)), Microsoft's announcement from end of April 2021 can be found here. intern die Versionsbezeichnung 21H1, als erstes Funktionsupdate für das Jahr 2021.

This version has been tested from Windows Insiders since end of 2020, so Microsoft have had time to eliminate bugs. Microsoft had announced at the end of April 2021 that it would use the time until the release for further maintenance updates. Blog reader Gerold points to the release of the new build 21H1 in this comment, but writes that this build is not yet offered to him.

Microsoft provides confirmation in the May 18 blog post How to get the Windows 10 May 2021 Update, where the company writes that the Windows 10 May 2021 Update (21H1) is intentionally designed to deliver key features that improve security, remote access and quality. Microsoft further writes that Windows 10 21H1 is designed to deliver a fast update experience.

The May 2021 update is initially available now for select devices running Windows 10, version 2004 or later. Users interested in installing the latest feature update on Windows 10 2004 and 20H1 on their device can do so starting haute. To install the new version, the Windows Update settings page should be opened (Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update). There, the user has to select the Check for updates button. If the update is displayed, it is enough to select the "Download and install" hyperlink under Optional updates to start the installation.

Small or large feature update?

Windows 10 21H1 will be rolled out, similar to Windows 10 version 1903/1909 and Windows 10 version 2004/20H2, only as a small feature update for the old versions 2004 and 20H2. For this purpose, the changes are already prepared in the existing Windows 10 versions 2004 and 20H2 via monthly updates. For the release, only the few KByte Enablement Update KB500073 is required via Windows Update or WSUS. However, this will only be offered on suitable machines and will not be available via the Microsoft Update Catalog.


This enablement update then simply unlocks the new features in Windows 10 21H1 (see also my explanations in the article Windows 10 21H1 officially announced, testing started with Insider in Beta channel). However, the scope of the innovations in the 21H1 is very limited – Bleeping Computer lists innovations here.

  • Windows Hello multi-camera support: Internal or external Windows Hello cameras can be used for user authentication.
  • Windows Defender Application Guard performance improvements, including optimization of document scenario open times.
  • Performance improvements in updating the Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Group Policy Service (GPSVC) to support remote work scenarios.

The latter two new features are not available for Windows 10 Home. For Windows 10 versions such as 1909 or older, however, Windows 10 21H1 will only ship as a major feature update that exceeds one gigabyte in size. The feature update to Windows 10 21H1 is offered through Windows Update, but only for compatible machines.

ISO installation media

Alternatively, the feature update can be installed or updated via an ISO installation file or the Media Creation Tool (MCT). The colleagues from have listed the download links of various ISO files in this article. Who needs the Media Creation Tool for Windows 10 21H1. The colleagues from have written something about it in this article, because there is a risk that old versions of the MCT will still be available for download for a while.

Addendum: I just checked, the ISO installation media are also available for download with release date May 19, 2021 for Visual Studio subscribers. I assume that's when the ISO files will also be available in the Volume License Center.

Support period and bugs in the Windows 10 21H1

According to the Windows 10 status information, build 19043,985 will be rolled out during the upgrade. Support for all Windows 10 21H2 SKUs (i.e. Home, Pro, Enterprise, Education and IoT Enterprise) will end after 18 months, on December 13, 2022. In the Known Issues section of the status page, the May 2021 update is also already listed. There, the audio problem mentioned in the post Windows 10 Version 2004/20H2: Audio issue "high-pitched noise" after Update is listed. Furthermore, there are currently problems with entering Japanese Furigana characters.

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3 Responses to Windows 10 May 2021 Update (21H1) released (May 18, 2021)

  1. Chris Pugson says:

    It would be very good if Microsoft would also promptly make 21H1 available via Windows Update for older hardware which still conforms to basic Windows 10 requirements. Microsoft acts with a caution in this context which is lacking in its monthly update screwups. Of course I can resort to using Media Creation Tool for the new feature update which does work for my ancient ToshibaSatellite Pro P200 but this is a lengthier process. Never mind. We are becoming accustomed to, if not reconciled to, the control freakery which is now Microsoft.

  2. Chris Pugson says:

    21H1 works fine on my legacy Toshiba Satellite Pro P200 laptop after it endured about 7 hours of using the Media Creation Tool process. I hope that the Windows Update option becomes available for my friend's legacy Intel Core Duo 2GHz powered Dell Vostro desktop. She won't cope with Media Creation Tool.

  3. EP says:

    check out this recent deskmodder blog, guenni – 21H2 as build 19044?

    an as to Chris's responses about Win10 21H1, it worked fine on my dad's Toshiba Satellite C55DT-A touchscreen laptop; upgraded using the 21H1 ISO download from the Win10 ISO downloads page, not with the 21H1 MCT (media creation tool)

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