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What to expect in new Windows 20H2 Update

Windows 10’s October 2020 Update, also known as the 20H2 update, has been installed on many PC's already. This update is focused on bug and performance fixes, but it has some larger changes that you may notice —like the removal of the System Control Panel.

How to Install:

To install the update the official and intended way, head to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update. Click “Check for Updates.” If the update is available for your PC, you’ll see “Feature update to Windows 10, version 20H2”. Click download and install to get it.

If the update isn’t available for your PC, that suggests Microsoft isn’t confident it will perform well on your PC’s hardware yet. To install the update anyway, download and run Microsoft’s Update Assistant tool. Head to the Download Windows 10 page and click “Update now” to get it.

About the Changes:

This update should be plenty stable because of all that effort going into polishing and bug-fixing. That’s good news for Windows 10 users. This update will be fast to install, just like 19H2 was. If you’re already running the May 2020 Update (20H1), installing it will be as fast as installing a normal monthly update—no long download or lengthy reboot required.

The only noticable change in this update will be the removal of the control panel.

New Settings:

In this version of Windows, the classic “System” page in the Control Panel has been removed. When you try to open it, you’ll be taken to the new Settings app.

All the information found in the Settings pane in Control Panel is available in the Settings app. This is just another step in Microsoft’s long, slow process of slowly phasing out the Control Panel. The Control Panel won’t vanish any time soon, though—it has too many useful options and Microsoft is migrating them to the new Settings app very slowly.

Microsoft Edge:

Microsoft is proud that this is the first version of Windows 10 with the new, Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser included.

That’s not necessarily big news—Windows Update may already have installed the new Microsoft Edge on your system, anyway. The new Edge has also been available to download from the web since January 15, 2020. But, with this release, it’s official: The new Edge replaces the old Edge in the baseline version of Windows 10.

Your phone App:

Microsoft is expanding the “Your Phone” app with more features designed for “select Samsung devices.” If you have one of these phones, you can now access your phone’s Android apps directly on your Windows 10 PC. They’ll be running on your phone but you can launch, see, and interact with them on your Windows 10 desktop. Later in the year, Samsung Galaxy Note20 users will experience the power and convenience of running multiple apps side by side and they will continue to work with Samsung to bring this feature to additional devices.

The Start Menu:

The Start menu is getting “theme-aware tiles.” Now, the tile background will be light or dark to match whichever Windows 10 theme you’re using. Previously, the Start menu used your accent color, which means the default Windows 10 theme used a variety of blue icons. The shift to using standard theme colors means Windows 10’s new application icons look better in the Start menu.

Alt + Tab Function:

Instead of just showing one Edge thumbnail for each window, you’ll see different tabs in the Alt+Tab switcher. So, if you’re using several web pages at once, you can quickly find and switch between them just with Alt+Tab. If you don’t like this, that’s fine—it’s configurable. Just go to Settings > System > Multitasking to customize yours to your liking.

Less Notifications:

If you’ve used Windows 10’s Focus Assist feature which automatically hides notifications while you’re playing games and using other full-screen applications, among other tasks—you’ll probably notice that it can be really noisy.

In the spirit of not bugging you with notifications, Focus Assist pops up to show you a notification that hey, it’s not going to show you any notifications! And, when you’re done with your “focused” activity, Focus Assist pops up a summary of all the notifications it didn’t show you. It’s pretty distracting. Now, Microsoft is disabling all these notifications by default.

Refresh Rate Options:

You can now change your PC’s refresh rate in the Settings app—without visiting the old Control Panel. To find this option, head to Settings > System > Display > Advanced Display Settings. You’ll see a Refresh Rate option at the bottom of the window.

If you have a monitor with a high refresh rate, you should crank it up for a smoother visual experience.

Automatic Tablet Mode:

When you detached a keyboard on a 2-in-1 device, a notification popped up and asked you if you wanted to enable tablet mode. You can change what happens—for example, to prevent Windows 10 from entering tablet mode automatically—by heading to Settings > System > Tablet.

Other minor changes:

· Notification enhancements: Windows 10’s notifications now include an application logo so you can easily see which application generated them and an “x” button so you can quickly dismiss them.

· Default taskbar icon tweaks: In a minor change, Windows 10 will adjust the default taskbar icon layout depending on what you use your PC for. If you link an Android phone during setup, you’ll see a Your Phone icon on the taskbar. If you have an Xbox Live account and you’re using a gaming PC, you’ll see an Xbox icon on the taskbar. You can still add or remove whatever icons you like.

· Modern Device Management (MDM) improvements: For IT professionals administering multiple devices, Microsoft is extending Modern Device Management policy with new “Local Users and Groups” settings that matches the options available for devices managed through Group Policy.

As usual, Microsoft also fixed a wide variety of smaller performance and stability issues under the hood.

More features are arriving in Windows 10’s 21H1 update, arriving sometime in Spring 2021. For example, Windows 10 is getting system-wide support for DNS Over HTTPS (DoH), boosting security and privacy online.

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