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Windows 10 21H1 is set to bring UI changes, enhanced search, UWP File Explorer, enhanced Chromium Edge and more next year

2021 is set to bring major UI and quality-of-life improvements to Windows 10 (Image source: Microsoft)
2021 is set to bring major UI and quality-of-life improvements to Windows 10 (Image source: Microsoft)
Next year's Windows 10 revamp, known as 21H1, is set to deliver a number of enhanced features from a smarter search to better multitasking in Edge, to a touch-native interface for Edge.
Arjun Krishna Lal,
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2021's version of Windows 10 is set to bring major changes to Microsoft's "OS-as-a-service," including a revamped user interface, "Focus Search," and an empowered version of Edge Chromium. Analyzing official screenshots and announcements at events like Build 2020, PCOnline patched together an analysis of the features we will most likely see in Windows 10 21H1, next year's iteration.

For starters, the user interface will receive a substantial revamp, targeted towards being more touch-friendly and to better enable multi-tasking. An enhanced version of the UWP File Explorer that's hidden in current Windows 10 code will likely replace (or at least complement) the existing File Explorer app. With larger icons and better spacing, the UWP explorer appears to be far more touch-friendly. The Start Menu will de-emphasize Live Tiles and feature app icon tiles by default. However, developers will be able to optionally enable Live Tile functionality.

Search also gets a much-needed boost to functionality. By pressing Alt+Space, a new option described as "Focus Search" will enable users to search for apps, arbitrary files, and online search results. While this is technically possible with the regular search bar, "Focus Search" appears to index local items better. While start search captures most installed applications and some documents, it misses a lot of arbitrary files.

Microsoft's Chromium-flavored Edge is also set to feature new functionality. A sidebar search function in Edge will allow users to search for keywords in a sidebar panel without leaving the page they're currently on. This reduces the number of tabs open and can save time switching between tabs.

Considering that it's the 2021 version of Windows 10, we don't expect to see 21H1 any time soon. However, the new features in the works all look exciting. We're particularly taken by the enhanced "Focus Search." Users on Mac have been used to Spotlight search forever and it's great to see something similar (that actually works) appear on Windows.

And with more and more touch-enabled devices out there, it's great to see a touch-optimized UWP version of File Explorer in the works, too.

Vanilla Start Search doesn't index many files types
Vanilla Start Search doesn't index many files types
Sidebar search in Edge should make multitasking easier (Image source: PCOnline)
Sidebar search in Edge should make multitasking easier (Image source: PCOnline)

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Arjun Krishna Lal
Arjun Krishna Lal - Tech Writer - 454 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2019
I've had a passion for PC gaming since 1996, when I watched my dad score frags in Quake as a 1 year-old. I've gone on to become a Penguin-published author and tech journalist. Apart from working as an editor at Notebookcheck, I write for outlets including TechSpot and Gamingbolt. I’m the Director of Content at Flying V Group, one of the top 5 digital marketing agencies in Orange County. When I'm not traveling the world, gathering stories for my next book, you can find me tinkering with my PC.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 05 > Windows 10 21H1 is set to bring UI changes, enhanced search, UWP File Explorer, enhanced Chromium Edge and more next year
Arjun Krishna Lal, 2020-05-30 (Update: 2020-05-30)