What’s new in the Windows 10 October 2020 Update
The Windows 10 October 2020 Update has started to become available to customers as a free update.
This year has continued to bring about change for many of us. Change in how we connect to one another, how we work, how we learn, even how we have fun. And that change is starting to feel more permanent, especially with kids going back to school adapting to remote learning and connection with their teachers and classmates or workplaces shifting to hybrid environments. Throughout all of this, the PC has become the essential device to keep us connected across our lives; it’s become our office, our classroom, even our playground. As we all adapt, live and learn through this together, one constant that remains is our commitment to you, our customers. We know you are counting on us, on Windows to stay connected to what matters.
As part of this commitment, we’re pleased to share the features and improvements coming with the Windows 10 October 2020 Update, many of which are requested features from you to help make your experience on Windows even better. Some of the new features include the fan favorite shortcut Alt + Tab which now lets you access your Microsoft Edge tabs, a streamlined design for the Start menu and more. If you’re interested in learning how to get the update you can visit this blog post to learn more.
Here’s what’s new in the Windows 10 October 2020 Update
With this update comes the latest and greatest version of the new Microsoft Edge. Since launching back in January, we’ve seen phenomenal growth and we’re excited it’s included in this update. If you haven’t yet tried the new Microsoft Edge, you should launch it and try it out since we’ve built a better browser with more performance, more privacy and more value back while you browse. If you’re already using our new browser, then you’ve seen first-hand how fast it is and we’re adding great new features every six weeks. Try out Collections to easily save and share content you find online. It’s perfect for holiday shopping, school research and even planning next spring’s camping trip. And it works across PC and mobile so you’re always in sync. We’ve also added Price Comparison so you can easily find the best price when you add an item to a collection, just in time for holiday shopping. In fact, we’re proud to say Microsoft Edge is the best browser for shopping this holiday.
With this update you also get these new, exclusive to Windows 10 features for Microsoft Edge:
- Alt + Tab = The quick way to access your apps and web tabs. With this handy keyboard shortcut not only can you easily access the apps you have open on your desktop, but now you can also access your open tabs in Microsoft Edge.
- All the tabs you were looking for. If you’re someone who likes the convenience of pinning your favorite websites to the taskbar, you’re going to love this new feature. Now when you hover over the website icon, you’ll see all the open tabs of that site.
Refreshing updates from the Start menu to the Taskbar and more
- A refreshing Start. The Start menu has a more streamlined design. A uniform, partially transparent background to the tiles creates a beautiful stage for the redesigned app icons like Calculator, Mail and Calendar. This refined Start design looks great in both dark and light themes, but if you’re looking for a splash of color, first make sure to turn on Windows dark theme and then toggle “Show accent color on the following surfaces” for “Start, taskbar, and action center” under Settings > Personalization > Color to elegantly apply your accent color to the Start frame and tiles.
- Smooth Settings. Settings continues to become a more robust place to access security and device details. Also, now when you go to Settings > System > Display, Advanced display settings, you can change the refresh rate of your display. A higher refresh rate allows for smoother motion of visuals, and depending on what kind of display or monitor you have, you may be able to really crank it up—makes for a great gaming experience.
- 2 in 1 toast elimination. 2-in-1 devices now naturally switch by default to the new tablet experience without the notification toast asking you to switch into the tablet mode when you detach the keyboard, helping to keep you in your flow.
- Noticeable notifications. New app logos at the top of notifications now make it much easier to identify who they are from. And the new “X marks the spot” lets you quickly click, close and get back at it.
- A Taskbar tuned to your liking. Getting a new Windows PC? You will enjoy a cleaner, more personalized, out-of-box experience featuring a taskbar specifically curated for you—less clutter and more content that you’ll love. (This experience is limited to new account creation or first logon scenarios.)
Updates for commercial and education customers
In addition to a smoother user experience, commercial and education customers also get enhanced security and management. Feature updates include more granular control in Mobile Device Management (MDM)1, stronger sign-in protection with enhanced sign-in security, and virtualization-based security for both Microsoft Edge and Office. Whether people are working or learning onsite or remotely, IT pros and end users will gain a simpler, more secure experience with the latest Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Education.
- Simpler device management. Mobile Device Management (MDM)1 now includes a Local Users and Groups policy that gives administrators the same options as on-premises Group Policy.
- More secure biometric sign on. With enhanced sign-in security2, Windows Hello3 now offers added support for virtualization-based security for certain fingerprint and face sensors, which protects, isolates and secures a user’s biometric authentication data.
- Stronger app protection. Now available in public preview, Windows Defender Application Guard (WDAG)4 now helps protect Microsoft 3655 as well as Microsoft Edge with a unique hardware isolation strategy. WDAG keeps enterprise data protected by opening sites and Office files from untrusted sources in a virtualized container.*
- Personalized tab page in the new Microsoft Edge. IT administrators can help employees, students and teachers personalize their new tab page with Microsoft 3655. Now, people can access their files and favorite Microsoft 365 apps more quickly just by opening a new tab in their browser. To learn more about what this update means for IT Pros, visit this blog post.
We continue to believe that Windows is the most powerful, productive and secure place for each of us to do our best work, to have fun, learn and connect. We are excited to share the latest features coming as part of the Windows 10 October 2020 Update. We also want to say a big thank you to our community of Windows Insiders who have provided important feedback throughout the development process for this update.
*Editor’s note — Oct. 28, 2020 — This blog was updated to clarify that the new capabilities in Windows Defender Application Guard are in public preview with the Windows 10 October 2020 Update.
1 Requires Azure AD or Microsoft 365. Sold separately. Learn more about Mobile Device Management, https://docs.microsoft.com/windows/client-management/mdm/.
2 Enhanced sign-in security requires specialized hardware and software components that can be leveraged starting on devices shipping with Windows 10 October 2020 Update configured out of factory. Documentation will be available later this year.
3 For Windows Hello with biometrics specialized hardware, a fingerprint reader, illuminated IR sensor, or other biometric sensor is required. Hardware-based protection of the Windows Hello credential/keys requires TPM 1.2 or greater. If no TPM exists or is configured, credentials/keys protection will be software-based. Requires TPM 1.2 or greater for TPM based key protection.
4 For Windows 10 Enterprise only.
5 Requires Microsoft 365 E5 subscription; sold separately.