How to unlock and use Windows 10 20H2 features without upgrading

Start Menu second concept

With Windows 10 October 2020 Update (20H2), Microsoft is
offering slightly improved versions of the Start Menu, Alt-Tab,
Taskbar, and notifications. It also comes with a raft of bug
fixes and improvements, including a new tablet experience for
detachable devices.

Last week, Microsoft released the October 2020 Update to the
testers in the Release Preview channel.

In this update,
Start Menu now includes Fluent Design icons for Microsoft
and third-party apps. The taskbar, too, is getting updated with
a new experimental feature whereby the taskbar will be
optimized for an individual user when they first set up their
new Windows device.

New Start Menu in light theme

Microsoft says it will enable a “more personalized” experience
for the taskbar to give you the content you want and reduce the
clutter.

For example, if you regularly use Your Phone app or Office apps
on your old device, Microsoft will automatically pin them to
the taskbar of your new device. This new out of the box
experience will finally focus on what matters to you and reduce
the clutter.

Windows 10 20H2 features in version 2004

As we reported yesterday,
Windows 10 20H2 is a small update and the enablement package
weighs less than 100MB. The latest batch of Patch Tuesday
updates appears to include the new 20H2 features, which were
previously limited to July’s optional update.

In
Windows 10 KB4571756 or
KB4566782, new features are hidden, but you can enable them
by editing the registry, which is a powerful and risky tool in
Windows 10.

If you’d like to give the new Start Menu, Alt-Tab experience,
and notifications a try, we’ll explain the steps below.

Disclaimer: Editing the registry can be potentially dangerous
if you make mistakes. If you’re planning to edit the Registry,

we recommend you to backup the registry before you start.

If you’re not comfortable with editing the registry,
we recommend installing the October 2020 Update by joining the
Release Preview channel or wait until the update gets
officially released in October.

Unlock Windows 10 20H2 features

If you still want to try out the improvements in Windows 10
version 2004, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings > System > About and verify that your
    system is running Build 19041.450 or newer.
  2. Open Notepad.
  3. In Notepad, enter the following text:
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlFeatureManagementOverrides2093230218]
    "EnabledState"=dword:00000002
    "EnabledStateOptions"=dword:00000000
  4. Save the Notepad content to your system with the name of
    your choice, but the file extension should be .reg
  5. Click on the .reg to run it right away and modify the
    Registry.
  6. Restart the device after you have made the change.

After the system reboot, you’ll notice that the new Start Menu
is already available with Fluent icons and translucent
background.

In addition, you’ll also notice that the version number has
disappeared from the Settings app. This appears to be a bug
linked to the new Registry values and you can safely ignore it.

Enable new Alt-Tab experience

In October 2020 Update,
you can now also access your Microsoft Edge tabs in Alt-Tab
apps switcher. To use the new Alt-Tab experience, follow these
steps:

  1. Open Settings > System.
  2. Click on ‘Multitasking’.
  3. Under Alt + Tab (pressing Alt + Tab shows) subheading,
    select the option of your choice. If you’d to show Edge, select
    the first, second or third option.

Once done, you’ll be able to view your Chromium Edge tabs in
the apps switcher screen.

Revert Registry

If you want to undo the changes, you can do it at any time by
deleting the Registry keys and restarting your device.

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