All the new features coming to your Windows 10 PC in the coming weeks

Microsoft has rolled-out the final beta for its upcoming blockbuster Windows 10 update, imaginatively branded as the Windows 10 October 2020 Update. According to a blog post from the Redmond-based firm, no more major changes are planned for this upgrade – so if your favourite feature is missing from the latest beta version, it’s probably going to be missing from the worldwide launch next month too.

Microsoft typically rolls out two major revisions of its popular Windows 10 operating system each year: one in the spring, one in autumn. While there are smaller revisions and regular bug fixes scattered throughout the year, Microsoft typically waits for one of its two tentpole releases to roll around to unleash new features, redesigns, and new apps to its users.

And Windows 10 October 2020 Update is no different. First off, the biggest change you’ll notice as soon as the installation finishes is the redesigned Start Menu. But don’t worry – Microsoft hasn’t decided to revisit the disastrous full-page Start Menu lampooned in Windows 8. Instead, the Start Menu is still found in the bottom left-hand corner of your desktop. Functionality remains essentially the same, but Microsoft has tightened-up the appearance – icons for apps are much simpler, users can choose between a light and dark mode, and tiles boast a semi-transparent background.

Everything looks a little cleaner and more modern. Microsoft calls this new design language Fluent Design and we can expect to see it pop-up in more and more places in Windows 10 over the coming months and years. Windows 10X, which was originally designed to enable the desktop operating system to work on dual-screen devices – like the forthcoming Surface Neo – but has since been repurposed, is based almost entirely on this new aesthetic.

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Windows 10 October 2020 Update also brings more options from the Control Panel to the new Settings page. Given that Windows 10 debuted back in July 2015, it has taken the company an extraordinarily long time to phase out the Control Panel into a single, unified menu for all system settings. That goal is a step closer to happening with Windows 10 October 2020 Update, although you’ll probably still have to dig into the Control Panel every so often.

The latest update also includes the recently reimagined Microsoft Edge web browser, which uses the same Chromium code as Google Chrome. Microsoft has enjoyed huge success with the new Edge, which is now the second most-popular browser worldwide. From now on, Windows 10 users won’t be able to access the older (and significantly less popular) option. Windows 10 October 2020 Update also adds the ability to Alt+Tab through Edge tabs, which should speed up your productivity.

If you want to test out Windows 10 October 2020 Update now, you’ll need to be signed-up as a Windows Insider beta tester. Since we’re so close to release, the latest beta should be as stable as the update rolling out to users worldwide next month.

There’s no definitive release day for Windows 10 October 2020 Update yet, but expect it within the next five weeks or so.

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