Updated

Reviewed: Windows 10 October 2020 Update inches in the right direction

The new Edge browser is a major change, but tweaks to the Alt+Tab shortcut and the Start menu make the Windows 10 October 2020 Update (or 20H2) worth knowing about.

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Windows 10 20H2 visualization Microsoft

An example of the new notifications format within Windows 10 20H2. The settings gear has disappeared.

”About” Settings: If you’ve ever needed to quickly copy and paste the specifications unique to your PC (I haven’t, but you might), the Settings menu now accommodates your desire with “Copy” buttons that grab all the relevant information. The “System” page in the Control Panel has been removed as a result.

Notable app updates: More and more app updates are being made independently of Windows, on their own development cycles. One we like is the Windows Calculator app, which gained a nifty little graphics function during 20H2’s development cycle. If you’re connected to the Internet, though, check out Microsoft’s Math Solver page—it’s just as cool and more practical, too. 

Microsoft Windows 10 20H2 graphing calculator Mark Hachman / IDG

Conclusion: A small step forward

The scope of the Windows 10 October 2020 Update feature release merits a review, even though the number of meaningful changes is relatively small. The big one, of course, is the new Edge browser—though that, too, is designed to be a simple transition. That’s good news for those hoping that Microsoft would leave Windows relatively unchanged, though there’s always the possibility for new bugs. However, ours is essentially a placeholder score.

What does the future hold? Microsoft has continued to publish new code as part of its Dev Channel, though that’s not officially part of any specific release. Will what may be called “21H1” reveal Windows 10X, and the Surface Neo? Or just more vanilla updates to Windows 10? We’ll have to wait and see.

This review was updated on October 20, 2020 to add details of the new display refresh-rate controls as well as to note that the October 2020 Update is now generally available for download.

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At a Glance
  • Microsoft's Windows 10 20H2 fall update is another in a line of small updates, focusing on bug fixes. But the new Edge browser and tweaks to Alt + Tab and the Start menu elevate its importance.

    Pros

    • Free upgrade
    • Microsoft's new Edge browser is bundled in
    • Alt + Tab functionality expands to Edge

    Cons

    • Start menu redesign is blah
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