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10-23-2020 at 02:04 AM
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Windows 10 20H2 - one cinic's view of the new features

Original Microsoft announcement at:

The second-annual major update to Windows 10 is about to be switched on (the features would have been downloaded during September update in a disabled state... if you updated). So here's a brief overview in through my humble, if cinical, viewpoint:

Theme-aware tiles in Start – The redesigned Start menu has a more streamlined design that removes the solid color backplates behind the logos in the apps list, and applies a uniform, partially transparent background to the tiles. This design creates a beautiful stage for your icons, especially the Fluent Design icons for Office and Microsoft Edge, as well as the redesigned icons for built-in apps like Calculator, Mail, and Calendar.
That's right, not content with destroying the Start button in Windows 8, Microsoft is continuing to back peddle to a normal start menu but with added flair to make your device even slower than Cortana already is. What's that? You don't use Cortana? Ah, bad news, I'm afraid: if you connect to the Internet she's already there, and she's been ciphoning your information to Microsoft to give you a "better experience" with your Start button for all your time using Windows 10. Lovely personal touch that destroys any privacy you might have thought you had with all your tools & protection software.

ALT+TAB between tabs in Microsoft Edge – We introduced ALT+TAB (task switcher) allowing you to toggle between open windows way back in Windows 2.0! In Windows 10, version 20H2, you can now use ALT+TAB to rotate between not only your open apps but also the tabs in Microsoft Edge. Now rotating through ALT+TAB will allow you to open Microsoft Edge in the specific tab you're needing, not just the latest active tab. You can modify the ALT+TAB experience in Settings > System > Multitask.
That's right! Microsoft finally acknowledges a feature that has been available on every competing desktop for 2 decades and more! Let's all give Microsoft a big round of applause for, even now, knobbling the feature to only one application.

Improved notifications – Toast notifications now have the app's logo in the top left corner of the notification, so you can immediately see where the notification is coming from. We've also turned off the Focus Assist notifications, which tells you when Focus Assist is enabled – whether via automatic rule or manually enabling it.
Microsoft add a feature which is actually useful... For those, like me, that actually look at the screen while you type. For the rest of you: it's one of those background tasks which makes Windows even slower while it goes off & fights for disk access to find the right icon to display next to the fleeting message that you don't actually care about.

Settings – We continue to improve the Settings page, adding more and more classic Control Panel capabilities. In addition to added settings, we also added a [COPY] button to Settings > System > About so you can easily copy that information and paste it into a help desk ticket. Watch for even more improvements to come!
Microsoft continue to confuse everything by "moving it over there" for no good reason with even less functioanlity and even less options but a wonderfully pretty experience that takes even longer to load (see loading icon earlier).

Refresh rate of display – Change the refresh rate of your display, giving you a smoother motion. This change can be made at Settings > System > Display > Advanced display settings. Note that this may require supported hardware.
You mean the buried option that every game manufacturer has been using for multiple decades and every graphics card manufacturer since Windows 95 has had to provide via their own "Advanced" feature? So nobble of Microsoft to finally admit the option is there.

Microsoft Edge (built on Chromium) – And of course, Windows 10, version 20H2 is the first version of Windows to come with Microsoft Edge browser built on the Chromium engine.
Glory be! Microsoft acknowledge they were so bad at writing World Wide Web browsers that they threw their lot in with Google for an experience which works. They then labelled it Edge and butchered it to work with their many failed customisations. Now you get to experience this hatchet job without any choice.

Microsoft Defender Application Guard for Office – Microsoft Defender Application Guard, designed for Windows 10, now supports Office! With this support, you can launch untrusted Office documents (those that come from outside the Enterprise) in an isolated container to prevent potentially malicious content from compromising the user's computer or exploiting their personal contents.
The ongoing acknowledgement that Microsoft Office has been, for nearly three decades, the biggest supporter of malicious attacks across the Internet.

Cortana – We continue to make investments in Cortana, adding a daily briefing email from Cortana, play my emails from Outlook, Cortana availability within the Microsoft Teams mobile app (available in English today, more languages coming!), and of course the updated and improved features of Cortana in Windows 10 itself.
That's right, Cortana now steals your information from even more resources!

Universal Print – Universal Print provides cloud-managed print services built on Azure. Universal Print ensures that customers can print from anywhere, anytime, with secure identity credentials. And, it is integrated right into Microsoft Endpoint Manager making it easy to get started and join the thousands of Preview customers who have moved millions of print jobs to the cloud.
... because the HP and other services aren't available to Microsoft for privacy violations, they're introducing another method to capture even more of your private life.

Windows Virtual Desktop – Windows Virtual Desktop is a desktop and app virtualization service that runs on Microsoft Azure. It lets end users connect securely to a full desktop from any device. And now with Microsoft Endpoint Manager, you can secure and manage your Windows Virtual Desktop VMs with policy and apps at scale, after they're enrolled.
So that when your virtual desktop is riddled with viruses, there's no easy power button to stop it and the reseller gets to make very large sums of money for the admin work in rolling back your desktop with three clicks of the mouse.

Microsoft Tunnel Gateway – Microsoft Tunnel Gateway allows Microsoft Intune-enrolled iOS and Android devices to access on-premises apps and resources, with single sign-on Azure AD authentication, integrated Conditional Access policies, and is flexible enough to meet the needs of all organizations. (Questions about Microsoft Tunnel? Join our Microsoft Tunnel AMA Thursday, October 22, 2020 - 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time.)
Integrated device access? That's right you get to sign your rights away even on non-Microsoft devices because this isn't about your access to your data, it's Microsoft's access to your device that you have to agree to before you get access to ... your own data! Lovely people.

Microsoft 365 apps – Office 365 ProPlus is the version of Microsoft Office that comes with several enterprise, government, and education subscription plans. Earlier this year we announced a name change to Microsoft 365 apps. If you have internal wikis, packages used by Configuration Manager – specifically any automatic deployment rules (ADRs), or product flows, you may need to update references to Office 365 ProPlus to this new name.
Just so you know that Microsoft aren't only interested in knowing every piece of your personal life, they also want every piece of every business' life too.

As a signing off paragraph, I'd just like to acknowledge that Microsoft is not an exceptionally bad player with your information. Almost every big company is doing this to you including Google, Apple, Amazon, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, etc., etc. If you weren't already aware: your personal information does not belong to you.
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