(Cybertech) – Microsoft has been revising numerous Windows File Explorer icons during the last few months and Windows Insider preview builds have seen them cascade onto devices. Stalwart Windows icons like This PC, Documents and Recycle Bin have been given a new look.
But the latest Insider Preview build gives a bit more of an insight into other icon changes – namely that Microsoft is revising icons that have been around since the Windows 95 era.
The idea is to bring them into line with other design elements on products such as Microsoft 365 and include numerous new icons for things like networks, printing, hibernation and physical media drives (yes, people still have those).
This is all part of Sun Valley – a sweeping array of design changes coming to Windows and the first proper overhaul of Windows 10’s design language since it debuted in 2015, partly for usability, partly to bring it in line with other Microsoft so-called ‘Fluent Design’ offerings and partly because many of us are using much higher-resolution displays these days.
The new interface tweaks will apparently be part of what would usually be the October or fall update and it looks like it will be finalised in the summer.
Bleeding-edge Windows Insider builds are now showing other Fluent Design influences, namely a new ‘floating’ appearance for the Start menu as well as ‘flyouts’ that appear above the taskbar for app-specific menus and things like the Wi-Fi, Clock and Action Centre options.
These elements are similar to the design seen on macOS and iPadOS in recent versions, especially the current macOS 11 Big Sur iteration. There may be other floating elements though such as Windows getting more rounded corners.
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We’re expecting to see a final preview of Sun Valley during the Microsoft Build developer event later in the month.
Writing by Dan Grabham.