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Windows 10 20H2: top 7 new features

Windows 10 20H2 is now rolling out to devices, and these are the best new features available in this release.

Top features of Windows 10 20H2

Windows 10 20H2 (October 2020 Update) is the tenth major refresh initially available on PCs running version 1903 or higher starting October 20, and it’s the second feature update in 2020 meant to succeed version 2004.

This particular feature update doesn’t include massive changes, but you’ll still be able to find some new features and changes that will improve the overall experience.

Here are the top seven new features and changes rolling out with Windows 10 version 20H2:

Start menu redesign

Perhaps one of the top features in this release is the new Start menu, which includes some design improvements to make it easier to scan and find apps quickly. Beginning with Windows 10 20H2, Start ships with a streamlined look that eliminates the solid color background in the icons from the app list and tiles and applies a semi-transparent background that syncs with system color modes, including when using a different accent color.

Windows 10 20H2 new Start menu
Windows 10 20H2 new Start menu

Taskbar personalization

When signing in for the first time on a new account or during the initial setup, you’ll get a cleaner and more personalized taskbar layout using the device and user signals from a Microsoft account.

Windows 10 personalized taskbar
Windows 10 personalized taskbar

For example, if you link your Android phone, you’re likely to see the Your Phone app, or if you have an Xbox Live account, you’ll see the Xbox app pinned in the taskbar.

Notifications tweaks

Starting with Windows 10 20H2, the sliding notification toast includes a new (X) button to dismiss the alert, and there’s an icon to quickly determine the app that generated the notification.

Windows 10 20H2 notification tweaks
Windows 10 20H2 notification tweaks

Also, the system now disables the Focus Assist notification and summary toast by default to avoid unwanted distractions.

Display refresh rate setting

Perhaps one of the top features with Windows 10 20H2 is the ability to change the display refresh rate from within the Settings app. Although the ability to adjust the refresh rate has been available for many years, it was a setting available only through the Control Panel.

Refresh reate option on the October 2020 Update
Refresh reate option on the October 2020 Update

If you have to adjust the refresh rate, you can now do so from Settings > System > Display > Advanced display settings, and using the “Refresh rate” drop-down menu.

Copy device specs to clipboard

In this list of top features, you’ll also find an updated About settings page, which now includes a Copy button to make it easier to copy the hardware and software specs to the clipboard, which you can then share with other people. In addition, the page also removes the Windows Security status.

Windows 10 Settings copy specs option
Windows 10 Settings copy specs option

Microsoft Edge Chromium default browser

Starting with the October 2020 Update, Windows 10 installs and makes the Chromium version of Microsoft Edge the new default web browser. This new app replaces the legacy version of the browser, and you’ll no longer find the option to uninstall the app in the Settings app.

Microsoft Edge Chromium
Microsoft Edge Chromium

In addition, the Chromium version of Edge gets further integration with Windows 10 by allowing open tabs to appear when invoking the “Alt + Tab” keyboard shortcut.

Windows 10 even adds a new setting on Settings > System > Multitasking that allows you to decide to show all open tabs, the five or three more recent open tabs, or you can enable or disable the feature.

New version number scheme

Another key change with the Windows 10 October 2020 Update is the new versioning number scheme. With this release and moving forward, instead of using numbers the year and month (2009) of the target release of the feature update, Microsoft is now using year and part of the year (20H2) for the version number.

Windows 10 new versioning scheme
Windows 10 new versioning scheme

For example, this feature update is known as “Windows 10 version 20H2,” and the “20H2” represents the year (20) and the part of the year (H2) indicating that the feature update will release during the second half of 2020.

Although these top changes are subtle, they are welcome improvements, which along with many other internal refinements should help to improve the overall experience of Windows 10.

Microsoft is now slowly rolling out the Windows 10 20H2 to compatible devices running version 1903 or higher, and it’ll take some time to reach every device. If you have a computer running version 2004, you can install the feature update as a quick update now from Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update, and then clicking the Check for updates button and the Download and Install button.

If the version 20H2 isn’t available through Windows Update, it means that there’s a compatibility problem and there’s a safeguard hold blocking the update. If this is the case, you shouldn’t try to update because you’re likely to run into issues.

In the case that you have an older version, then the October 2020 Update will be available as a regular upgrade that will require reinstallation.

As always, you can also use the Media Creation Tool and Update Assistant to perform an in-place upgrade or clean installation of the new version of Windows 10.