It looks like Microsoft's Windows 10’s File Explorer is undergoing a facelift in the near future. The company has begun rolling out a special test build of Windows 10 that tweaks folder and default file type icons, giving the overall operating system a new look.
It's all part of a bid to make potentially nebulous designs simpler to identify, according to Windows Insider head Amanda Langowski, who points out in a Windows Blog post (opens in new tab) that even the iconic Recycle Bin is undergoing a metamorphosis.
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Purists shouldn’t be too concerned about the new designs. While an "overhaul" likely conjures images indicative of a series of major, drastic changes, that isn't the case with Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 21343.
For the most part, it appears the icons are being shifted front and center so that the images they represent are more clearly visible. However, Microsoft is already working to make changes to several of its icons across the board, and they look much different than you might have expected them to.
“Several changes, such as the orientation of the folder icons and the default file type icons, have been made for greater consistency across Microsoft products that show files,” Langowski said. “Notably, the top-level user folders such as Desktop, Documents, Downloads, and Pictures have a new design that should make it a little easier to tell them apart at a glance.”
For instance, a side view of a full Recycle Bin swaps to a frontal image, and a hard drive seen from the side shifts to the front, similar to what you might see on a Mac. They're subtle differences, but users will undoubtedly take notice.
Changes are certainly coming, beyond these specific icon tweaks. Microsoft is still looking into implementing a "visual rejuvenation of Windows" in the foreseeable future in the form of a plan called "Sun Valley." It's all part of an effort to communicate to users that "Windows Is Back," at least according to a January job posting spotted by The Verge (opens in new tab). Microsoft subsequently announced a series of events throughout this year to focus on various aspects of its plans for Windows, gaming, and cloud services in the coming months.
For now, it looks like the Windows 10 changes are localized to the icons you use every day. But “sweeping changes” are on their way for a brand new look for Windows at some point in the future.