Windows 10 20H2 Update: Everything we know

Windows 10 20H2
(Image credit: TechRadar)

The Windows 10 October 2020 Update is out now, and much earlier than anticipated. The latest major update to Windows 10 was rumored to come out in November 2020.
But, perhaps to make up for the delays that the Windows 10 May 2020 Update was plagued with, it instead rolled out on October 21, and is available now for download.

You may not want to get too excited yet, however. While the Windows 10 October 2020 Update was also long rumored to be little more than a bug patch with the introduction of few, if any, major new features, this new upgrade isn’t a huge overhaul of the operating system

Although the major focus remains on implementing fixes to the last major update, it does come with some welcome new features. The Windows 10 October 2020 brings with it the full integration of the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser into the OS. It also comes with the inclusion of Microsoft Edge tabs into the OS's Alt-Tab menu, a brand new Start menu, better support for high refresh rate gaming monitors, an improved Taskbar, and app logos in Windows 10 notifications. 

So, while this isn’t one of the most exciting updates Microsoft has released, it’s certainly worth taking a look. Here’s everything you need to know about the Windows 10 October 2020.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Windows 10 October 2020 Update is the latest major version of Windows 10
  • When is it out? Windows 10 October 2020 Update is out now
  • How much does it cost? Windows 10 October 2020 Update is free for all users

Windows 10 20H2 Update release date

The Windows 10 October 2020 Update, the last major update to Windows 10 that we'll see in 2020, is out now and available for download, bringing in a few improvements to the operating system earlier than we initially anticipated.

Although the Windows 10 May 2020 Update saw a minor delay related to an incompatibility issue with the Windows Mixed Reality platform, this one luckily didn’t suffer the same setback. 

Windows 10 20H2 Update name

Microsoft is sticking with the existing naming convention for their updates, officially christening this last major update of 2020 “Windows 10 October 2020 Update.”

Windows 10 20H2 Update features

Much like the Windows 10 November 2019 Update, Windows 10 October 2020 Update is expected to fix and service the last major update released in May without adding all that many new features, something that is usually reserved for the first half of the year.

Still, that doesn't mean it's all bug fixes for the rest of the year. There are some new improvements that are going to roll out with the October 2020 Update that are worth noting.

Windows 10 20H2 Update fully integrates the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge into Windows 10

Microsoft's switch to Chromium for their new Microsoft Edge browser was definitely a welcome change, giving users access to a huge library of apps for the popular and extensible open-source browser.

Currently, Windows 10 uses the old, non-Chromium version of Microsoft Edge by default, forcing you to download this updated version of Edge separately. Windows 10 October 2020 Update is finally replacing this old version of Edge with the new one by integrating it into the OS itself.

Windows 10 20H2 Update to include the new theme-aware Start Menu

One of the more noticeable changes to see in Windows 10 October 2020 Update is the theme-aware Start Menu. This may not be the drastic redesign that some people were hoping for, but it will streamline the look of the Start Menu depending on the light or dark Windows theme you are using. 

Also included in this updated Start Menu is the addition of partial transparent backgrounds to the app tiles of the menu. Basically, this new update drops solid colors for more transparent effects that makes it blend in better to your desktop Theme, while also making it easier to find the apps you’re looking for. 

Windows 10 October 2020 Update brings in some Alt + Tab changes 

The Alt + Ta is one of the most-used keyboard shortcuts, allowing users to switch between open apps using an on-screen menu. With the October 2020 Update, you’ll also be able to scroll through open Edge tabs as well, pretty handy for multitaskers whose daily workload involves having 20 or more tabs open.

Windows 10 20H2 Update improves the tablet experience of Windows 10 2-in-1s

Windows 10 October 2020 Update also improves the overall experience of Windows 10 on 2-in-1 laptops like the Acer Spin 5, including better spacing of the desktop icons and automatically switching to the tablet experience when you undock the screen on detachable 2-in-1s.

John Loeffler
Components Editor

John (He/Him) is the Components Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. 

Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.

You can find him online on Threads @johnloeffler.

Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 (just like everyone else).