Fall has rolled around again, and Microsoft is greeting the season with its biannual Windows 10 feature update. All of the usual caveats regarding rollouts apply. At first, 2H20 will only be available to a relatively limited set of users, but Microsoft will make it available to a wider group of individuals as compatibility blocks are resolved.
So, what’s new this build?
It’s the first build that will ship with Chromium Edge automatically installed. Microsoft has added a price comparison tool directly in the browser so you can find the best available price on a product while you search. You’ll also be able to navigate within Edge using Alt-Tab (no word on how easily this synchronizes with the more regular use of Alt-Tab to swap between desktop windows). In addition, you can hover over a pinned website icon on the taskbar and see all open tabs that point to that site.
There are also some new customization options and a partially transparent “Start” menu background. Microsoft calls this look “more streamlined,” but I don’t see how that term applies — the number of icons and their presentations are identical in the “Before” shot versus the “After.”
The Display section in “Settings” now contains an option for adjusting the display refresh rate directly, rather than requiring you to dig into the Nvidia Control Panel or use the advanced display options buried deep in a menu that hasn’t changed since Windows 95 was hot. If you use a 2-in-1 system, the machine will now automatically detect that you have switched into tablet mode and will swap to that interface method without being asked.
Most of the other functions are of limited value to anyone who doesn’t need to connect to remote services. Mobile Device Management now has a Local Users and Groups policy “that gives administrators the same options as on-premises Group Policy.” Microsoft claims that Windows 2H20 includes enhanced biometric security, but there’s an asterisk on that claim big enough to drive a plane through, namely:
Enhanced sign-in security requires specialized hardware and software components that can be leveraged starting on devices shipping with Windows 10 October 2020 Update configured out of factory. Documentation will be available later this year.
There’s not much else to chew on in this update, at least not that Microsoft felt compelled to mention. Over at ZDNet, Mary Jo Foley has heard rumors that Microsoft might not push another Windows 10 feature update until the second half of 2021. Supposedly the principle goal at the moment is to get Windows 10X ready for single-screen devices and prioritizing that output for early 2021.
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