[German]Microsoft has officially released the Windows 10 November 2021 Update (21H2) as of November 16, 2021 (see my post Windows 10 November 2021 Update (21H2) released). This is the Fall 2021 feature upgrade, which will receive support until June 23, 2023 in the Home and Pro versions, and until June 11, 2024 in the Enterprise and Education versions. But what does Windows 10 21H2 offer for enterprise IT pros in particular?
For Windows 10 version 21H2, Microsoft has focused on improving the productivity and security of the operating system. The changes are therefore very limited. The innovations that Microsoft has already mentioned in articles read modestly:
- Support of the WPA3 H2E standard for improved Wi-Fi security.
- Windows Hello for Business introduces a new provisioning method called Cloud Trust to support simplified passwordless provisioning and achieve provisioning status within minutes.
- Support for GPU computing in Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) and Azure IoT Edge for Linux on Windows (EFLOW) for machine learning and other compute-intensive workflows.
In addition to the change of the upgrade cycle from semi-annual to annual feature updates (alignment with Windows 11), which was already mentioned in my post Windows 10 November 2021 Update (21H2) released, there are other highlights. For example, Microsoft has also announced the availability of Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2021 in the Long-Term Servicing Channel. Other new features:
- With Windows 10, version 21H2, some important changes have been made to the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) VPN APIs. These include the ability to implement common web-based authentication methods and reuse existing protocols.
- Version 21H2 also supports the aforementioned Wi-Fi 6 with Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 hash-to-element protocol (WPA3 H2E) to provide better protection against Wi-Fi side-channel attacks that could steal Wi-Fi passwords and other sensitive information. In a hybrid work situation, users can now keep their web traffic encrypted when connected to open or home networks.
- Windows 10, version 21H2 provides security updates for the following products and features: Windows AI Platform, Windows App Platform and Frameworks, Windows Apps, Windows Cryptography, Windows Fundamentals, Windows Input and Composition, Windows Kernel, Windows Media, Windows Office Media and Windows Virtualization.
- The device configuration settings catalog has been updated to list over 1,400 settings that were not previously available for configuration via MDM. These new MDM policies include Administrative Template (ADMX) policies such as App Compat, Event Forwarding, Servicing and Task Scheduler. This is also available for Windows 11, creating consistent policy management between Windows 11 and Windows 10.
- As part of Windows 10 Enterprise, Universal Print now supports print jobs of up to one gigabyte (1 GB), or a series of print jobs from a single user that add up to 1 GB in a 15-minute period. In addition, Universal Print integrates with OneDrive for web and Excel for web. This allows users using any browser or Internet-connected device to print documents hosted in OneDrive for web to a printer in their organization without having to install printers on their devices. Universal Print will also be updated by the end of 2021 to support printing from Microsoft Excel for web. .
- If Azure Virtual Desktop is used, administrators can now automatically deploy apps to a Windows 10 desktop so that the apps in Azure Virtual Desktop can run just like local apps – including the ability to copy and paste between remote and local apps. (This feature is also available in Windows 11 for consistency).
To support the release of Windows 10, version 21H2, Microsoft has released updated versions of the following tools:
- Administrative Templates (.admx) for Windows 10, version 21H2 (available later this week) – While accessed through the C:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions\ folder in Windows, administrative template files can be downloaded separately and used to populate policy settings in the Group Policy Tools user interface, allowing you to manage registry-based policy settings.
- Group Policy settings reference spreadsheet for Windows 10, version 21H2 (available later this week) – List of policy settings for computer and user configurations included in the ADMX files for Windows 10, version 21H2.
- Windows 10 Enterprise Evaluation – Windows 10 Enterprise Evaluation – For IT pros who want to test Windows 10 Enterprise on behalf of their organization, Microsoft is offering a free 90-day evaluation of Windows 10, version 21H2 and Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2021.
The Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK) for Windows 10, version 2004 and the Windows PE add-on for the Windows ADK, version 2004 have not been updated and still work in Windows 10 version 21H2 because the core is the same as version 2004. Details about known issues or version information can be found in the updated Release Health hub and Windows 10 version information.
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