Preparing Active Directory for Windows 10 version 21H1

Microsoft has released a new version of Windows 10, dubbed version 21H1. This version brings new functionality that many organizations are eager to utilize. In many organizations, Windows-based devices are joined to Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS), so devices can be managed centrally and end-users can sign-in on any domain-joined device of their liking.

A new Windows version means that Active Directory needs to be properly prepared. In this blogpost, I’ll show you how to prepare Active Directory for Windows 10, version 21H1:

 

Group Policy

Windows 10, version 21H1 comes with ten new Group Policy settings. To centrally manage Group Policy, you can update the Group Policy Central Store with the new Group Policy template (*.admx) and Group Policy language (*.adml) files. This way, you can centrally manage the versioning of Group Policy templates.

Note:
If your organization doesn’t use the Group Policy Central Store feature, yet, now is a good time to implement it.

You can download the Download Administrative Templates (.admx) for Windows 10 May 2021 Update (21H1) from the Microsoft Download Center. This download includes *.adml files for the Czech, Danish, German, Greek, English, Spanish, Finnish, French, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Turkish and Chinese languages.

Copy the new PolicyDefinitions folder over the existing PolicyDefinitions folder in the Active Directory System Volume (SYSVOL) share to update the Group Policy Central Store.

When you’re a fan of Microsoft’s security baselines, you can download and implement the Security baseline (final) for Windows 10, version 21H1.

 

Windows Activation

Active Directory-based Activation (ADbA) is available since Windows Server 2012 as a replacement for Microsoft’s Key Management Services (KMS).

Note:
If your organization doesn’t use Active Directory-based Activation, yet, now is a good time to implement it.

You can download the product keys for your organization from the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC). Enter the product keys to automatically activate Windows 10 when it comes into scope of your Windows activation method.

 

Remote Server Administration Tools

In previous Windows 10 version, the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) needed to be downloaded manually to allow admins to manage Windows Server features from these devices.  However, since Windows 10, version 1809, the RSAT are included as Features on Demand in Windows 10 itself.

Do not download an RSAT package from this page. Instead, perform the following steps on a device running Windows 10, version 21H1:

  • Press the Start button.
  • Search for Manage optional features.
    Click the search result with the same name
  • Click Add a feature.
    You now see the list of available optional features.
  • Select and install the specific RSAT tools you need. All RSAT tools names are prefixed with RSAT: , so this makes for easy filtering.

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