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