The latest major update to Windows 10 ($150 at Amazon) started rolling out on desktop computers, laptops and both-in-one in late October, and should be available for you to download now. (Find out how to download the Windows 10 October 2020 release here. If you haven’t updated from Windows 7 ($26 to Amazon) yet, you may be able to use that tip to download Windows 10 for free, too. Once you have upgraded your device, you will find some important new features that will help you make the most of the new operating system.
Upgrade as soon as the update becomes available to you will make your computer life easier and safer. And at this point, as many of us are still spending more time at home on our computers for work or play, every little thing that can make your experience better is a win in our book. In addition, the update will prepare you for the next Windows 10 Spring 2021 update, which seems to set the stage for larger changes in the future.
Here are three of the best things from the Windows 10 October 2020 update (also known as the 20H2 version), and how to use them.
1. Microsoft Edge browser brings privacy improvements
Windows 10 20H2 version is the first to come with the revampd Microsoft Edge browser installed by default. The browser is now built upon Chrome, Google’s open-source foundation for the Chrome browser, which makes it compatible with more websites than the previous version was.
There are other things as well. The new Edge browser comes with a privacy feature that tries to block websites that follow you online — similar to Mozilla’s Firefox browser. And a feature called Collections makes it easier for you to collect information from various websites that you search.
How to use the new Edge browser privacy settings: You will use the new Edge browser in much the same manner as any other browser. Navigate to the logo on your Taskbar or from the Start menu — the icon is a circular crashing wave tinted blue, green and aqua, similar to the old blue Internet Explorer “e” icon.
To configure your privacy functionality, go to Settings > Privacy & Services. You’ll see three options for tracking prevention: basic (allows most trackers), balanced (blocks trackers from sites you haven’t visited — Microsoft recommends this one) and Strict (blocks a majority of trackers from all sites).
To verify your privacy settings on the fly while using the browser, click the lock icon on the left of the search bar. A box will appear indicating if your connection is secure, with options to check the site certificate, cookies used and site permissions. You can also enable or disable Tracking Prevention and manage settings at any site you visit. If set to on, you will see how many trackers your browser has blocked.
How to use the Edge browser Collections feature: Once you’ve navigated to a page you’d like to save, click the icon that looks like a “+” in a box, to the right of the search bar. This will open the Collections window on the right of your screen. Click Start a new collection and name it as desired. You can click Add Current Page to save which web page you are on. You may also click and drag a page image into the collection, as well as select and drag the text, and add your own notes too. To export your collection to Word or Excel, click the 3+ dots sharing icon at the top of the collection.
2. Customize your new Start menu
The regular Windows Start menu is updated in the October 2020 update. The new design is more streamlined, and replaces the solid color background plaques behind the logos in your application list with partially transparent backgrounds, so the icons stand out more. The colors will also change according to if you are in light or dark mode.
How to customize the new Start menu: If you want to add an accent color so your tiles match your desktop theme, you can go to Settings > Personalization > Color and enable the accent color on Start, Taskbar and action center.
3. Open all of your tabs at once
With the update, you’ll be able to open all your tabs in Edge with a single command, instead of just the one active in every browser window. This makes it easier to get a complete view of each window that you opened, instead of just one. You can also set it to display only your last three or five tabs, or disable it entirely. However, it only works with the Edge browser, at least at this point.
How to customize your tabs:To open all tabs in Edge at once, press Alt plus Tab. To configure your tab settings or turn off the feature, go to Settings > System > Multitasking. You’ll see a drop-down menu with options for what Alt plus Tab can do.