What’s New in Windows 10 Version 20H2

Posted on October 19, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 31 Comments

It seems like Microsoft only recently released Windows 10 version 2004, but the software giant should release its successor any day now. So, what’s new in Windows 10 version 20H2?

Not much in the way of major new features, which is a relief. As with last year’s Windows 10 version 1909 release, Windows 10 version 20H2 is a minor refinement of its predecessor, with six additional months of bug and security fixes and just a handful of functional improvements.

Here are the few such improvements worth calling out.

Branding. With Windows version 20H2, Microsoft is switching from the year/month-based branding of all previous Windows 10 versions to a new branding scheme based on year/half-year. So Windows 10 version 20H2 is “the Windows 10 version released in the second half of 2020,” whereas its predecessor, Windows 10 version 2004 is “the Windows 10 version released in the first half of 2020.” This is only temporarily confusing as future Windows 10 versions will use the H1/H2 branding.

New Edge installed by default. Windows 10 version 20H2 is the first Windows 10 version to actually include the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge by default. Previous releases came with legacy Edge, though Microsoft has been automatically upgrading them to the new Edge via Windows Update for the past several months.

New Alt + Tab behavior. This is, perhaps, this Windows 10 version’s most controversial new feature. Today, Alt + Tab lets you switch between all running applications and open windows, but with 20H2, Windows 10 will, by default, you can now switch between all running applications and open windows and the 3 most recent tabs in the new Edge. If you don’t like this change—I hate it—you can disable it by opening Settings and navigating to System > Multitasking > Alt + Tab. Or, you can even configure it to let Alt + Tab access the 5 most recent Edge tabs or, gulp, all tabs.

Start menu. There is a very slight visual change to the Start menu in Windows 10 version 20H2, and it’s only obvious when you’re using Light app mode: The live tiles are now more subtly shaded when compared to the Start menu background, losing a bit of definition, and the icons in the All Apps list no longer appear inside a small tile box.

Your Phone. If you provide your cell phone number during OOBE (the out of box experience) during the initial setup of Windows 10 version 20H2, the Your Phone app will be automatically added to your taskbar.

Xbox. If you have a gaming PC, Microsoft will automatically add a shortcut to the Xbox app to the taskbar on first sign-in as well.

And that, almost literally, is it.

I’ve already explained how you can install Windows 10 version 20H2 early if you’re so inclined. But with this release coming via the October 2020 Update, I assume it will be generally available soon enough.

Elevate the Conversation!

Join Thurrott Premium to enjoy our Premium comments.

Premium member comments on news posts will feature an elevated status that increases their visibility. This tab would allow you to participate in Premium comments with other premium members. Register to join the other Premium members in elevating the conversation!

Register or Subscribe

Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate