Windows 10 Sun Valley Update ditches Windows 95 icons for modern versions

Later this year, Microsoft is planning to deliver a “sweeping
visual rejuvenation” with Project Sun Valley, giving testers in
the Insider program an early look at changes that will be
introduced on Windows 10.

Windows 10’s big interface refresh is codenamed “Sun Valley”
and it’s reportedly coming in October/November, with reports
suggesting that the feature update will hit the RTM (release to
manufacture) status in June. In the latest preview builds,
we’ve now caught a glimpse of new icons for features from
Windows 95-era.

In addition to
new icons for File Explorer folders and system apps,
Microsoft is also getting rid of its Windows 95 icons, such as
the hibernation monitor and floppy disks. These new icons more
closely mimic the icons already seen on Microsoft 365,
Microsoft Launcher and other products.

The preview build comes with a set of new icons for
folders/options/buttons inside the Shell32.DLL, the main shell
module that has existed in all variants of the operating system
released after Windows 95. In the next feature update, some of
these icons are getting a makeover.

Windows Shell32 icons
Preview builds (left) and production (right)

As you can see in the above screenshot that compares Windows 10
Sun Valley Update with Windows 10 October 2020 Update,
Microsoft has refreshed Windows 95 icons for several folders
inside the Shell32.DLL. This includes hibernation mode, globe,
networking, floppy disks, etc.

The old icons have been given a unique colour for a modern feel
and differentiation. This is all part of ‘Sun Valley’, the UI
overhaul that will improve design consistency.

In the last few preview builds, Microsoft has tweaked plenty of
apps, folders and settings with more colourful and Fluent
icons, so this comes as no great surprise. The icons for other
important folders – This PC, Recycle Bin, Documents, etc – have
also been modified in the preview builds, as officially
announced by Microsoft earlier this year.

Rather than the completely dated designs, the newer options are

However, there are still several icons that need to be changed.
For example, the preview build still uses the old tree icon for
WinDirStat, a disk usage statistics viewer and cleanup included
in various versions of Windows 10.

It’s likely that the other icons throughout the OS will also
get updated before the Sun Valley update launch.

Windows 10 Sun Valley update to improve design consistency

With rounded corners, more Fluent Design features, a
true dark mode experience and other features, the desktop
may end up looking very different from the current version of
Windows 10.

Microsoft is
also considering a floating design for the taskbar jump
list menu,
Start Menu, flyouts and Action Center.

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