We have finally left 2020 behind us and are now firmly into 2021. Slowly over the course of January, builds started to roll out once again to #WindowsInsiders across the three development channels.

Here is a rundown of the various builds issued in the first month of 2021 and some thoughts about where the future lies when it comes to Windows 10 development builds.

Just like back in December and November, the shift of new development builds into the Beta and Release Preview channels did not happen in January either. Both channels are getting the same cumulative updates for Windows 10 (20H2) as they have over the previous two months. For Release Preview, that channel is doing what we expect at this point in the cycle – a test channel for cumulative updates being released for production builds of Windows 10 (Version 20H2).

As for the Beta Channel – at some point that should shift to 21H1 cumulative updates since it looks like the big feature update for Windows 10 this year has shifted to the fall update rather than in the spring.

Otherwise, the Dev Channel is getting new builds for Windows 10 (vNext) as is the norm. Reminder though, even as features land in this testing channel – there is no connection to any future release of Windows 10 – thus the moniker of vNext – aka Version Next.

Let’s look at how January 2021 went for all three #WindowsInsider Channels.


Dev Channel builds shifted back into the rs_prerelease at the beginning of January and that is where they have remained. It was also a fairly standard cadence this month with releases each week for testers.

We did see some new features in Dev Channel this month including:

  • News and Interests on the Taskbar
  • Modernized Storage Spaces Settings
  • File System Command Line Tool – DiskUsage
  • Startup Commands for Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)
  • Time Zone Transition Improvements
  • Windows File Recovery Updates
  • Improved Touch Keyboard Design

Of course, there are also other changes, enhancements, and fixes across all of these builds as expected. January 2021 has gotten off to a good start it seems for #WindowsInsiders.

#BetaChannel & #ReleasePreviewChannel

As stated above, these two channels continue to mirror each other with Release Preview testing cumulative updates before they are released to production channels. As for Beta, it continues to be in a holding pattern waiting to begin seeing patches that will lead to Windows 10 (Version 21H1) which is expected this spring.

What’s Next?

I would expect Beta channel to get shifted into testing cumulative updates for 21H1 at any time because the sooner updates get incorporated for testing, the smoother that release will go when it is time.

As for the Dev and Release Preview channels, they are already doing exactly what we would expect at this time. That should continue in the coming months just like January started.

Happy Testing #WindowsInsiders!