Windows 10's next feature update is expected this October, slightly ahead of schedule. Microsoft has settled into a steady biannual update cycle for its operating system, with no successor to Windows 10 in the works. 

However, the update is already available to members of the Windows Insider Programme (or Program in the US), who able to test the new features and provide feedback before the final version is released. 

Joining the Insider Programme is the easiest way to get the October update right now, although there are a few hoops you'll need to jump through. Here's everything you need to know. 

How to get the next Windows 10 update now

Before we begin, it's important to note that the version currently available on the Windows Insider Programme is not the final one that will be rolled out to consumers. As such, there may be bugs or some features may not work as intended (ironing out these issues is the whole point of the Programme). 

We'd highly recommend you follow this process on a device that's not your primary PC, at least until you get an idea of its stability. 

  1. Head to Settings > Update & Security and select "Windows Insider Programme" from the left pane
  2. You may be prompted to allow some permission, as you'll need to enable optional diagnostic data to be collected
  3. Back in the Insider Programme section, click "Get Started" and then "Register" in the pop-up that appears. Note that you won't have these options if you've signed up previously
    Windows Insider Programme
  4. Hit "Sign Up" to confirm, check the box to say you accept terms and then click "Submit"
  5. Wait a few seconds, and then click 'Link an account"
    Windows Insider Programme
  6. Sign in with the Microsoft account of your choosing. After about 30 seconds, you'll be asked to "Choose your Insider settings" - click "Beta Channel (Recommended)" and "Confirm"
    Windows Insider Programme
  7. Confirm the next screen, allowing Microsoft to collect information about your experience
  8. As prompted, you'll then need to restart your device for the changes to take effect
  9. Now, you should see "Feature update to Windows 10, version 20H2" in the Windows Update section of Settings

For this option to be available, you may need to download the May 2020 update (version 2004) if you haven't already. If you still don't see the update available to download, you might need to change your Insider settings. Here's how it's done:

  1. Head to Settings > Update & Security and select "Windows Insider Programme" from the left pane
  2. Under the heading "Pick your Insider settings", click the current option, which will be "Beta Channel (Recommended)" if you've followed this tutorial
    Windows Insider Programme
  3. Try switching to the "Release Preview Channel" or "Dev Channel" instead
  4. Restart your device, and the update will hopefully now be available within Settings > Update & Security

Once the update has successfully downloaded, it's important to opt-out of the Insider Program to ensure early builds aren't automatically installed in the future:

  1. Head to Settings > Update & Security and select "Windows Insider Programme" from the left pane
  2. Under the heading "Stop getting preview builds", set the toggle to "On"
    Windows Insider Programme

For more information, here's how to opt out of the Windows Insider Program

Don't feel like joining the Insider Program? There is another way to get the Start Menu and everything else the October update brings, but it does involve making changes to the Registry. 

Here's all you need to know about the Windows 10 October 2020 update