Windows 10 October 2020 Update, also known as the 20H2 update, is now available. This update, which we’ll refer to as Windows 10 October 2020 Update, focuses on bug fixes and performance. But it also has bigger changes, like removing the system control panel. We will discover all the news.
What’s new in the Windows 10 October 2020 Update
The reality is that there isn’t a whole lot of news, but the second update of the year is usually of minor importance.
The Windows 10 October 2020 Update (version 20H2) offers some noticeable changes (the classic System pane of Control Panel disappears), but it mostly introduces smaller changes.
This update should be pretty stable due to all of this polishing and bugfixing efforts. This is good news for Windows 10 users. The Redmond giant defines it this way: “Windows 10 version 20H2 will offer an extended feature set to improve performance and improve quality.”
This update will be quick to install, just like 19H2. If you are already running Windows 10 May 2020 Update (20H1), it will install as fast as a normal monthly update. No long downloads or long reboots required.
Microsoft removes system area from control panel
In this version of Windows, the classic “System” page of the Control Panel has been removed. When we try to open it, we’ll be taken to the About page of the new Settings app.
It is not as important as it seems. All the information in the Settings panel of Control Panel is available in the Settings application. There’s a handy “Copy” button to copy all the text to the clipboard, and we’ll even find buttons to open advanced system settings like BitLocker settings and Device Manager at the bottom of the page.
This is just one more step in Microsoft’s long, slow process of phasing out Control Panel. The Control Panel isn’t going away anytime soon, however, it has too many useful options and Microsoft is migrating them very slowly to the new Settings app.
The new Microsoft Edge officially arrives
Microsoft is proud it’s the first version of Windows 10 with the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser included.
That’s not necessarily good news: Windows Update may have already installed the new Microsoft Edge on your system, anyway. The new Edge is also available for download on the web from January 15, 2020. But, with this release, it’s official: the new Edge replaces the old Edge in Windows 10.
Access your Samsung phone’s Android apps on your PC
Microsoft is expanding the “Your Phone” app with more features designed for “certain Samsung devices”. If you own one of these phones, you can now access your phone’s Android apps right on your Windows 10 PC. They will run on your phone, but you can start, view, and interact with them on your Windows desktop. 10.
The start menu drops the colored tiles and focuses on the new icons
The Start menu now contains “theme icons”. Now the mosaic background will be light or dark to match the Windows 10 theme you are using.
Previously, the Start menu used an accent color, which meant the default Windows 10 theme used a variety of blue icons on a blue background. Switching to using standard theme colors means the new Windows 10 October 2020 Update app icons look better on the Start menu.
However, you can still get the icons that match the theme again, just head to Settings> Personalization> Color and enable accent color in “Start, taskbar, and action center.”
The Alt + Tab shortcut displays the default Edge browser tabs
Windows 10 now shows browser tabs in the Alt + Tab shortcut, if we’re using Edge. Rather than showing a single Edge tile for each browser window, we’ll see several different tabs in the Alt + Tab shortcut. Therefore, if you are using multiple web pages at the same time, we can quickly find them and switch between them just with Alt + Tab.
As they have been doing lately, if you don’t like it this feature is configurable. Head to Settings> System> Multitasking and set Alt + Tab to show your most recent three or five tabs, or turn it off completely for a more classic experience.
Presumably, other browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox might choose to integrate Alt + Tab shortcut in the future and show browser tabs as well.
Improvements to sites pinned to the taskbar in Edge
Microsoft also improved how sites pinned to taskbar work in the October 2020 Update for Windows 10. When you pin a website to the taskbar with Microsoft Edge, you can now click (or hover) on this taskbar icon to see all browser tabs for that website.
So if we pin Gmail to taskbar in Edge and have Gmail tabs open in multiple browser windows, we can click on Gmail icon to find them. Even if they are in other Edge browser windows.
Windows 10 October 2020 Update reduces notifications with Focus Assistant
If you’ve used the Focus Assist feature in Windows 10, you’ll know that it automatically hides notifications when you play games and use other apps in full screen. Among other tasks, you will probably notice that it can be very boring.
In the spirit of do not disturb notifications, Focus Assist appears to display a notification which, it will not display any notification. When we are done with our activity, we will see a summary of all the notifications that had not been displayed.
Automatic switch to tablet mode by default
When a keyboard is detached on a 2 in 1 device, a notification appears and asks us if we want to activate tablet mode. Now with the Windows 10 October 2020 update, it will automatically switch to the new tablet experience added in the May 2020 update without any messages or notifications.
You can change what happens (for example, to prevent Windows 10 from automatically entering tablet mode) in the Settings> System> Tablet heading.