Microsoft begins rolling out the Windows 10 October 2020 Update to customers

Windows Update
Windows Update (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • The Windows 10 October 2020 Update is now available to the public.
  • It will begin rolling out in phases, so not everyone will get it right away.
  • Users must manually initiate the update on version 1903 or above.

Microsoft has today announced that the next big Windows feature update, known as the Windows 10 October 2020 Update or version 20H2, is now generally available and is starting to roll out as an optional update for customers on supported versions of Windows 10. As always, Microsoft is throttling the availability of the update at first to ensure there are no widespread issues when updating to the latest release, so not everyone will get it right away.

The update will be made available first to customers on a supported device, running Windows 10 version 1903 or above. It won't be installed automatically, however, meaning you will have to go into Windows Update yourself to initiate the update if it's available to you. If you're already running the Windows 10 May 2020 Update, the update process will be quicker as it will install like a monthly update.

To check if the update is available to you, head to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and hit the check for updates button. If it's available, you'll see a dialog that says "download and install" for the October 2020 Update. Once the download has been initiated, you cannot stop it, so only proceed if you're sure you want to install this release.

Microsoft will begin to automatically push this update to Windows 10 users on unsupported versions of Windows 10 in the future, but that's not happening today.

What's new?

Microsoft's latest release of Windows 10 features minor improvements and enhancements, many of which focus on subtle UI changes. For example, Microsoft is updating the Start menu interface with a cleaner look, removing the colors from live tiles and the accented squares from logos in the apps list. It also brings more legacy Control Panel settings to the modern Settings app, including the ability to change your display's refresh rate.

It's also the first version of Windows 10 to include the new Chromium-based version of Microsoft Edge by default, meaning if you've avoided the new Edge so far, it'll come preloaded when you update to the October 2020 Update. There are also minor improvemnets to the tablet experience on 2-in-1 PCs, in that it no longer asks if you want to enter tablet mode and instead provides a more touch friendly desktop environment.

Windows 10 October 2020 Update review

For enterprises, this release brings simpler device management, more secure biometric authentication, and stronger app protection with Windows Defender Application Guard. As this is the H2 release of Windows 10, the October 2020 Update will be supported for 30 months, and is the release Microsoft recommends enterprises begin updating to.

The Windows 10 October 2020 Update is the last major release of Windows 10 for 2020. Microsoft hasn't detailed its plans for Windows 10 releases in 2021, but rumors suggest the OS will only be getting one big update in the second half of 2021 next year, as it'll be focused on delivering Windows 10X in the first half.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts on the October 2020 Update and will you be installing it? Let us know in the comments.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter and Threads