There’s no other OS like Windows 10. Microsoft has done something different with this operating system - it doesn’t completely overhaul it every couple of years. Instead, it rolls out free but noticeable updates semi-annually. That way, Windows 10 can stay current and incorporate new features and support, a practice that’s been happening since its initial launch in 2015.
Because of this genius practice, Windows 10 is not only Microsoft’s most popular operating system, but its most flexible to date. Just like other OS from Microsoft, Windows 10 comes in quite a few variations to adapt to different types of hardware and users. For instance, Windows 10 Pro includes tools for businesses and professionals as well as integrating enterprise-grade security, while Windows 10 in S Mode offers a slimmed down and more limited OS for those in the education sector.
That’s not all that’s coming from Microsoft. Windows 10X is expected to launch late Spring 2021, though it will now come to single-screen devices first. And, the long-rumored Windows 10 Lite could still come out. Both of these versions are supposedly intended to go head-to-head with Chrome OS, so that Microsoft can put some machines up against the best Chromebooks.
At this point, most Windows laptops and PC users are on the Windows 10 bandwagon. Still, we gathered everything you need to know about this powerful and extremely versatile OS, from its key features to its semi-annual updates – the latest of which is the October 2020 Update. Whether you’re deciding to jump ship from a competing OS or you simply want to take full advantage of the one already installed on your computer, read on and find out what makes it tick.
This review pertains to the Home and Pro versions of Windows 10. For detailed Windows 10 system requirements and the various versions, check out the Microsoft website.
Windows 10 October 2020 Update
Unlike the May 2020 Update, which came with a whole new set of features and performance refinements, this October 2020 Update is a relatively minor one. Rolled out on October 21 and now available for download, its main focus is on implementing fixes to the previous update.
That isn’t to say that this October 2020 Update doesn’t come with new features of its own, however. Among those are the full integration of the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser into the OS, inclusion of Microsoft Edge tabs into the OS's Alt-Tab menu, and a brand new Start menu as well as more support for high refresh rate gaming monitors, an improved Taskbar, and the addition of app logos in Windows 10 notifications.
New Start menu
The October 2020 Update has given the Windows 10 start menu a facelift. While it’s not the drastic redesign that people were hoping for, it does give the start menu a fresh look. The design is more streamlined, removing the solid color backplates behind the logos in the apps list and applying a partially transparent background to the tiles. It makes it blend in better to your desktop theme and easier to find the apps you’re looking for.
Alt + Tab changes
This update also changes the Alt + Tab function, one of the most-used keyboard shortcuts. So, now when pressing those keys, you can not only switch between open apps using an on-screen menu, but also scroll through open Edge tabs as well. That makes it easy to switch between websites when you’re using the browser.
Improved tablet experience
While not exactly a new feature, this update also improves the operating system’s overall experience on 2-in-1 laptops. Improvements here include automatically switching to the tablet experience when you undock the screen on detachable 2-in-1s as well as better spacing between desktop icons.