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How to get Windows 10 October 2020 Update before anyone else

Download Windows 10 version 20H2 early
Download Windows 10 version 20H2 early (Image credit: Windows Central )

Microsoft is expected to start the gradual rollout of the Windows 10 October 2020 Update, version 20H2, sometime in the coming weeks. However, since the feature update has already been finalized, you can download it early using the Windows Insider Program.

The Windows Insider Program has been designed to provide early access to pre-releases of Windows 10 using three levels of readiness, including the Dev Channel, Beta Channel, and Release Preview Channel. This allows developers, network administrators, and enthusiasts to test new features and submit feedback to improve the experience.

However, since the software company uses the Release Preview Channel to test feature update rollouts before making them generally available, you can use the channel to upgrade before anyone else.

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to download the October 2020 Update ahead of its official release.

How to join Insider Program to get Windows 10 October 2020 Update

When using the Release Preview Channel, you're technically downloading the final version. However, because the channel is meant to detect issues before the public release, there are still chances of running into unknown issues.

Warning: This is a friendly reminder that modifying an installation of Windows 10 can negatively impact your current setup. We recommend creating a temporary backup before proceeding as a precaution.

To enroll a device running the May 2020 Update in the Windows Insider Program to download version 20H2 before anyone else, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Click on Windows Insider Program.
  4. Click the Get started button.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Link an account button.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Select your Microsoft account from the list.
  2. Click the Continue button.
  3. Under the "Pick your Insider settings" section, select the "Release Preview Channel" option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Confirm button.
  2. Click the Confirm button one more time to agree to the terms.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Restart now button.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Click on Windows Update.
  4. Click the Check for updates button.
  5. Click the Download and install option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Restart now button.

Once you complete the steps, the October 2020 Update will install on your computer. If you're already using the May 2020 Update, the installation process will only take a few minutes because the features are already in a dormant state in the current installation. The update is only an enablement package.

Switch to the Beta Channel

In the event that the update doesn't show up in the Release Preview Channel, you can try switching to the Beta Channel to download the feature update.

To change the Windows Insider Program settings, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Click on Windows Insider Program.
  4. Under the "Pick your Insider settings" section, click the current option, such as the Release Preview Channel.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Select the Beta Channel option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Restart your computer.
  2. Open Settings.
  3. Click on Update & Security.
  4. Click on Windows Update.
  5. Click the Check for updates button.
  6. Click the Download and install option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Restart now button.

After you complete the steps, you should now be able to click the download and install option to apply the feature update. If you're currently using the November 2019 Update, then version 2004 may need to be installed before the version 20H2 becomes available for the device through the Insider Program.

Opt-out of the Windows Insider Program

After the October 2020 Update installs, it's recommended to remove the computer from the program to prevent automatic downloads of early builds for future releases of Windows 10.

To stop getting pre-releases of Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Click on Windows Insider Program.
  4. Under the "Stop getting preview builds" section, turn On the toggle switch.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Once you complete the steps (and after version 20H2 is available to everyone), the device will stop downloading other previews automatically, and it'll continue to receive maintenance updates for as long as the specific release is supported.

The instructions outlined above are one way to get early access to the final version of Windows 10. However, you should consider that updates in the Release Preview Channel can cause issues during and after the installation. If you want to minimize the chances of running into problems, you should skip these steps and wait until you receive the feature update automatically.

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

13 Comments
  • Already new update? I'm ready for it
  • won't show up. I am already in the release preview and tried switching to beta. nothing..
  • Same here. It's early days yet and they always stagger these releases.
  • Yeah. Lots of people just LOVED getting 2004 without waiting. What could go wrong with getting October now?
  • I've been in the Release Preview ring for several years and I've never had an issue, but I'm prepared to deal with them if they arise. If you're not, don't join the Insider program. Simple. The Insider program exists so that those who are prepared to live with the potential issues can get access to new features sooner while also helping to protect the general masses from those issues. If you want that early access, quit whining about the potential issues. If you don't want the potential issues, you should be glad that there are those of us who are prepared to take the hit so that you're less likely to, so quit whining in that case too.
  • Well said, Insider brother.
  • Oh yes, features like more Emojis and let's not forget the new look of the start menu and more ways for Microsoft to spay on you with more apps that want to link you to their servers. Since Windows 10 first came out, there have been nothing at all to get me excited, I wish I could go back to Windows 7 or even Windows 8, just a shame my machine will not run them.
  • I wish you could too. One less person whining would be a small relief, at least.
  • I had to do a clean installation for 2004, it slowed my computer down, I will not be doing that again for a while, I will leave it for a year or so before I do another large update.
  • It was available for me on one PC in the release preview ring last night. Installed very quickly without any problems.
  • True October Update...?
  • I have not even bothered to install the last one yet. Still blocking it here. This twice-a-year treadmill is really getting old.
  • "How to get Windows 10 October 2020 Update before anyone else" But why would I like to do that?