MDA Windows Release Testing Notification for Windows October 2021 Release

Created Date: 2021-03-18 |  Last Modified: 2021-03-18

Applies To: Named, TVO


This communication serves as a notification of the upcoming Windows Release, named “Windows October 2021 Release”, and the Market Development Agreement (MDA) Milestone 1 Windows Release Testing details associated with its release.


MDA testing for Windows October 2021 Release is required testing to meet the milestone requirement.

Windows Release Testing Timeline

The MDA Milestone 1 testing window for Windows October 2021 Release will take place between April 15, 2021 and May 28, 2021.

A feature complete build posted to EEAP or WIP at that time will be acceptable to start testing. The feature complete build is expected to be posted April 6, 2021.

Windows Release Testing Test Guidance Document

The Windows October 2021 Release Test Guidance document can be found on Collaborate March 29, 2021 for review. Final Windows October 2021 Release Test Guidance will be posted to DPC no later than April 12, 2021.

Windows Release Testing Requirements

Under MDA Milestone 1, partners are required to test Windows 10 devices distributed two years prior to the latest Windows release to manufacturing (RTM) date to ensure compatibility of Windows 10 devices with the latest Windows Release. Per the MDA Program Letter, Microsoft will provide notification that a Windows Release is forthcoming and requires testing. This communication is to serve as a notification.

In summary, the testing requirements for this milestone are:

  • Make commercially reasonable efforts to test distributed Windows 10 devices, dating back two years prior to the latest Windows 10 RTM date, to ensure the devices will support the latest Windows Release. This includes devices under development that will be released or are planned to be released to the general public three months after the Windows Release RTM.
  • Ensure that the Commercial ID supplied by Microsoft has been entered into the device Registry.
  • Update the status of the tested devices at least one time a week during the testing period or until the testing of the tested devices is completed.
  • File a bug for each issue that is found during testing, and the identified bugs are to be fixed in a mutually agreed upon manner prior to Windows Release RTM (release to manufacturing). This includes bugs found by Independent Hardware Vendors. (IHVs).
  • Please submit your final test results for each device that has been tested to Microsoft using the template supplied in the test requirements to the MDA Help alias no later than June 3, 2021.

Microsoft Partner Center and Microsoft Collaborate Onboarding

To meet the Windows Release Testing requirements under MDA Milestone 1, it is necessary to create a Microsoft Partner Center account. Microsoft Partner Center is used for submitting bugs and downloading content, both of which are required under MDA Milestone 1. It is also necessary to have access to Microsoft Collaborate. Microsoft Collaborate allows you to download builds, specs, documents, and other information, as well as submit bugs during testing.

  • Microsoft Partner Center: If you do not already have access, follow the instructions Create a Partner Center account to create your account. When you have created your Microsoft Partner Center account, request access to the Hardware tab by contacting your Account Manager for details.
  • Microsoft Collaborate: To onboard and get access to the Microsoft Partner Center Collaborate tab, follow the Microsoft Collaborate Onboarding Instructions. This will register the Microsoft Partner Center account you created above, with Microsoft Collaborate.

Windows Release Testing Test Builds

Accessing test builds of Windows October 2021 Release can occur in two ways:

  1. Partners who take part in the Enterprise Early Access Program (EEAP) can get access through that program.
  2. All OEM partners may get access through the Windows Insider Program (WIP).
  • Partners are to move to and utilize the latest build immediately upon its release through EEAP or WIP, to ensure the latest build is used to complete testing.
  • Testing should be performed against a build that is no later than a week old as that latest build will contain bug fixes.

Windows Release Testing Scope

For the Windows October 2021 Release, there are 2 scenarios that a device can align to. These are listed below with guidance for each scenario.

  1. Models shipped with any Windows releases prior to Windows 10 20H2 preinstalled.
  • Start with the respective Windows release which is preinstalled.
  • Apply all updates from Windows Update (updates will include Windows 10 20H2).
  • Test the upgrade of the customer system with Windows 10 20H2 installed to Windows October 2021 Release.
  1. Models shipped with Windows 10 20H2 preinstalled.
  • Start with the Windows 10 20H2 image installed.
  • Apply all updates from Windows Update (updates will not include Windows 10 20H2).
  • Test the upgrade of the customer system with Windows 10 20H2 installed to Windows October 2021 Release.

Best practice and added guidance.

  • You are advised to begin testing and filing bugs early in the testing period. You do not need to wait for the start of the official MDA testing timeline.
  • You are to enter bugs, especially those related to IHV issues, immediately when they are found and not wait until the end of the testing window.
  • You should prioritize by testing newer devices (e.g. released in 2021) shipped with Windows 10 20H2 preinstalled, followed by the rest of the devices preinstalled with Windows 10 19H2 and Windows 10 20H1.
  • You are advised to prioritize testing on high-volume and high-risk PCs, including systems with minimal storage as well as systems with custom hardware.
  • In the bug filing process, you should include details on whether the issue happens prior to upgrade or when the device runs the previous operating system, to ensure the accuracy of the bug statement and to ensure the issue is indeed an upgrade related incident.
  • You are to attach log files generated by Feedback Hub Advance Diagnostics to each bug and accurately describe each bug.
  • When reporting, you are to list any firmware or non-Microsoft drivers that caused the Windows Release to fail.
  • You should fix identified drivers or application issues prior to Windows October 2021 Release being made available to the general public.