Hands-on with Windows 10 October 2020 Update: A pleasant surprise

Windows 10 20H2 October Update

Windows 10 October 2020 Update, also known version 20H2, will
begin rolling out to consumers later this month as an optional
feature update. Installing the October Update will add
several subtle features to improve your user experience
and prepare the device for future releases.

The feature update for Windows 10 comes with performance and
quality improvements to the operating system.

After the update, you will notice UI improvements to the Start
Menu, but for the most part, you’re unlikely to notice any
significant changes for other areas of Windows 10.

In this article, we’ll highlight our experience with the
October 2020 Update and what you can expect.

Installation and download experience

As we reported last month, Microsoft’s next feature
update for Windows 10 will install on your PC in just a few
minutes.

In one case, we observed that Microsoft installed the update
for our SSD machine in just two minutes. This works only when
you’re upgrading from the May 2020 Update (v2004).

October 2020 Update will install in a matter of minutes because
it’s simply an enablement package that weighs just 80MB. The
underlying code for version 20H2 features is already present in
Windows 10 version 2004 as long as you’re using August 2020
patch.

As mentioned, the size of the feature update is less than 80MB
and it should download in less than a minute if you’re
connected to a reliable internet connection.

  • Installation roughly takes less than two minutes on SSD
    hardware.
  • Installation roughly takes 5-10 minutes on HDD hardware.
  • Requires one reboot to apply all changes.

If you’re still rocking Windows 10 version 1909 or version
1903, you’ll need to download Windows 10 version 20H2 as a
full-featured update for 4GB. Depending on the hardware specs,
the process would be much longer.

What changes can you expect in version 20H2

In Windows 10’s October 2020 Update, you will not notice any
major changes. According to Microsoft changelog, users of the
Start Menu will notice a change right away when they look at
the live tiles.

Windows Start Menu theme aware

As you can see in the screenshot above, Microsoft is
introducing theme-aware tiles for Windows 10 Start Menu where
you can apply the accent colour behind pinned tiles on Start.
These tiles will respect your theme preference, including dark
and light modes.

Taskbar

When setting up a new account or a new device, you will notice
a more personalized out-of-box experience with the default
taskbar layout.

For example, if you use Office and Your Phone frequently,
Microsoft will automatically pin those apps to the taskbar when
setting up a new account. The goal here is to provide a cleaner
and more personalized experience.

Improvements to the Settings app

In version 20H2, Microsoft is killing off the System applet in
the Control Panel for an improved version of ‘About’ page in
the Settings.

About settings screen

The updated Settings app comes with links to older utilities
and a new button that lets you copy information under the
“Specifications” sections. This would make it easier to share
your system information with your friends or tech support.

Windows 10 Alt Tab settings

If you use Microsoft Edge, you’ll also find a new multitasking
feature helpful. With October Update, Microsoft is bringing
Edge browser tabs to the Alt+Tab task switcher.

You can choose to show three or five most recently visited tabs
of Edge, or you can also go back to the default windows
experience.

Windows 10 display settings

In addition, Windows 10 Settings page now allows you to change
the refresh rate for your monitors. This feature was previously
accessible via a third-party utility.

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