Windows 10 21H1 Spring Update: Not Much to See

John Lister's picture

The upcoming twice-yearly "major" Windows 10 update looks like it lacks any major features. That could be good news for users who have come to fear such updates causing compatibility issues and software bugs.

The spring feature update, currently codenamed 21H1, is one of the two big updates delivered each year. This time round it's really not that big in terms of content or impact.

Arguably the best news is that the installation is not only optional but should be relatively quick and simple. That's because it's mainly an "enablement package" that simply activates code that's already been added to Windows in previous updates.

Not Much To See

The enablement package approach is possible because there's so little new. In effect, the update brings just three changes, all of which will affect only some users.

Windows Hello, which lets users login with facial recognition, is getting a minor tweak for cases where users have two compatible cameras, for example when plugging an external monitor with a camera into a laptop that has a webcam. The user can now set which is the default camera for facial recognition. (Source:

Windows Defender Application Guard, a tool for businesses to mitigate security risks while giving employees Internet access, is getting a few performance tweaks.

Windows Management Instrumentation, which allows IT administrators to manage their network, is getting some improvements for remote working set-ups.

And that's it.

Part of the light update is that many features for specific applications (such as the Start Menu and Notepad) are now being developed separately from the main Windows development and delivered through methods such as the Microsoft Store.

Windows 10X A Priority

Another reason is that the second major update of 2021, due in the fall, looks like it will be much bigger. It will have changes to the look of Windows and new settings menus for managing batteries and hard drives. (Source:

A possible third reason is that Microsoft was expecting to put much of its attention this Spring into Windows 10 X, a new variant of Windows 10 that's specifically designed for foldable PCs that can switch between laptop and tablet modes. It's now not expected until later this year.

What's Your Opinion?

Are you disappointed at the lack of new features? Are you relieved there's not too much scope for things to go wrong? Should Microsoft have a regular update schedule or just enhance or improve Windows 10 as and when needed?

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Navy vet's picture

We dodged a bullet.

jamies's picture

Considering there are to be few extras, it would seem to have been an opportunity to fix some of the glitches that make the windows 10 environment so much slower than win-7.

I have a system with 2GB RAM and 500GB OS partition, about 50% used, not much ib the way of Apps added since the 7 days and it takes minutes to load Office Apps on 10, were it was just a few seconds on 7.
There seems to be no hardware problems as Apps that actually get running seem to process as fast as they did in 7, and heavy CPU and I/O processes such as backup of the system with midlevel compaction run almost as fast as teh y did in 7, it's just the startup of the App and assembling lists of files that takes ages -
Resource monitor showing massive paging and $mft usage even though the pagefile is set to a fixed size - no expansion

Basically, the problems seem to be the system processes that a developer and a system user has no control over -
file access - file Explorer
pagefile usage - memory management
App loading and file opening - OS and Anti-malware
Browser - so many threads opened at system startup - so taking up RAM that the Apps I want to run need
And - so much "Other I/O" when I want to Eject I have used a USB connected drive for processing lots of files - seems to be delayed $MFT changes.

I would request that some substantive effort be put into getting the win-10 working environment to be as efficient as the win-7 one.

Maybe take the new PC's away from the developers and make them get their production wo worh on systems with 2GB RAM, and a 2Ghz 2 core CPU, rather than needing a system that has a 6 core CPU @ 2.6Ghz, and can allocate 16GB RAM for a sandbox to run the browser that won't allow webpages to take control of the OS.

My view is I shouldn't need to spend over a grand to get a system that I can expect to run the 2023 version of windows.
And - what I would like is a stable and effective platform for the corporate (business) working environment.
That would mean that IT tech support staff would not need to spend so much of their time on learning about the new stuff to deal with the many new things that each may have 5 or so of the users using and causing confusion and discouragement to all their associates who have not learned the new thing - but some other new thing
It does not improve the working environment when the staff all know and use different parts of the Apps.
All it needs to cause problems in a fixed 2019 or 2016 environment is for 1 person to get a file generated, or updated to incorporate new 365 features, and pass reports using those features to associates and their management.

S T A B I L I T Y please!

Maybe, just maybe
Now that the software seems to be on an annual rental basis rather than confusing people by selling a "forever licence" for things that have a 5 year life -
Maybe it is a good idea would be to have longer terms of support for OS and Apps without the continually incrementing feature sets.

Re dodge a bullet -
Maybe, but more and more, I get the feeling we are afloat in crock infested waters and the hirer, having sown the creek with mines and sharp spikes and kept the paddle in the store.

Draq's picture

@jamies: Hah. This basically says what I've been thinking for a while now. Hardware gets better, but software is getting sloppier and worse. It's like developers are saying, "Well RAM is getting cheaper and CPUs are getting more powerful, we don't need to worry about wasting resources anymore. Lets' make everything bloated." Electron being a perfect example of this. I mean really, running a version of Chrome OS for each Electron application? Who thought this was a good idea? I get that there will always be hardware limitations, but what happened to writing basic software so it runs as well as possible on lower end machines?

Draq's picture

I thought this update was supposed to address performance issues or something. Maybe it does under the hood. I don't know. The latest optional update seems to fix a lot of issues, and we'll soon be getting those fixes this month.