Since we can only have Halloween parties in Animal Crossing nowadays, I would’ve written off my favourite month were it not for one big milestone dropping soon: The Windows 10 20H2 update.
This isn’t a gigantic update packed full of wild features, but there are a few new settings and features that you might love or despise. And that’s fine! Microsoft has made it possible turn a number of these changes on or off. Where it hasn’t, a more creative approach can usually bring you back to the Windows 10 experience you previously preferred.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the more noteworthy changes that are coming to Windows 10 once 20H2 launches — today, ideally, since it’s Patch Tuesday. I’ll also walk you through how you can can readjust some of Microsoft’s changes to create the most ideal Windows 10 experience for you.
To note: Windows 10 20H2 is an optional update (for now), so Windows Update will have a specific callout when Windows 10 20H2 is widely available for everyone to try. You won’t get it through the normal “Check for updates” button; you also won’t miss the link for the optional update, as it’ll be right below the “Check for updates” button on this screen:
Got it? Let’s get to the features.
What the hell happened to Alt-Tab
I always seem to have a lot of tabs open in my Edge Chromium browser, and it also seems like using Alt-Tab to switch between windows got way, way more cluttered with the release of Windows 10 20H2. Open browser tabs will appear as if they’re independent applications, which could be convenient, sure, but I find it creates an undue amount of complexity for those of us who can’t trim the fat in our web browsers. At least, when I’m switching between apps, I just want to go to the damn app, not one of the many things I have open in the damn app.
To fix this, pull up Settings > System > Multitasking, scroll down a bit until you see the Alt + Tab section. Change the setting from its default — “Open windows and 5 most recent tabs in Edge” — to whatever fits your style:
Obviously, I went with “Open windows only,” and I love it.
Reenabling Focus Assist notifications
Previously, Windows 10 would let you know when it’s blocking notifications as a result of Focus Assist mode. To do so, it would give you a notification (naturally). Starting in Windows 10 20H2, these Focus Assist notifications are going away, too — but not permanently. By default, Windows 10 won’t bother you at all when it’s time to not bother you, something you can set up simply by searching for “Focus Assist” within the Windows 10 Start menu.
To reverse Microsoft’s change for whatever reason, scroll down a bit until you see “Automatic rules.” Click on any one of them — ideally, ones that are enabled to trigger Focus Assist — and enable the option to “Show a notification in action centre when focus assist is turned on automatically.” Repeat as needed for any other automatic rules that trigger Focus Assist.
Pin a website to your taskbar via Microsoft Edge Chromium
This feature isn’t new, but it’s getting a little tweak in Windows 10 20H2. You might not have known, but if you’re using Edge Chromium — and there’s really no reason you shouldn’t be — you can pin websites you frequently use directly to your Windows 10 taskbar.
Pull up a site, click the triple-dot icon in the upper-right corner of Edge Chromium, hover your mouse over “More tools,” and click on Pin to taskbar. You’ll be given a chance to rename the site you’re pinning, and it’ll appear on your taskbar once you click “Pin.” Now, whenever you click on that little icon, the website will load right in Edge Chromium.
The Windows 20H2 tweak is that you’ll now be able to hover your mouse over that icon — with Edge Chromium loaded — and see how many different tabs of that site you have open at once. If you, like me, are bad at tab management, at least this will help you avoid having a ton of duplicates. Otherwise, if the domain is one that naturally prompts you to open a lot of tabs, you’ll be able to see a preview of all of them at once and jump to any specific site that’s open.
Freshen up your Start menu with a splash of colour
In Windows 20H2, you’ll find that the Start menu now adopts either your light or dark theme for your apps and tiles. That’s a big of a departure from previous versions of Windows, which used your accent colour as the background colour for your app icons and tiles — not always the prettiest look, depending on how bold you got.
As always, head over to Settings > Personalisation > Colours to switch between Windows 10’s light and dark modes. Scroll down a bit to pick your accent colour — or have Windows 10 select it for you based on colours it detects in your wallpaper — and check the boxes under “Show accent colour on the following surfaces” to bring this colour back to your Start menu and/or window title bars and borders.
Switch your default web browser
Now that Edge Chromium has replaced Microsoft Edge in Windows 10 20H2, you should give it a shot. If you’re not that into Edge, that’s fine. You might want to then take a few moments to confirm that your system is set up to use whatever alternative browser you prefer — assuming your browser hasn’t already nagged you about this when you launched it.
Click on the Start menu and type in “Default apps.” Launch the settings menu and scroll down a bit until you see the “Web browser” option. Pick your poison: Edge, or whatever browser you’ve been using. (And if it’s the latter, and still says the latter, great! Microsoft didn’t mess anything up.)
Adjust your monitor’s refresh rate
Assuming your desktop monitor can support higher refresh rates — spoiler: yours probably cannot, unless you purchased a fancier gaming-themed monitor — it’s now a little easier to tweak that value in Windows 10 20H2. Pull up Settings > System > Display, scroll down a bit, and click on “Advanced Display Settings.” Within this window, you’ll be able to set your monitor’s refresh rate to whatever value you want. (Go as high as your monitor can support.)