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Windows 10 preview teases huge design change — floating menus are coming

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(Image credit: Shutterstock)

More information has surfaced relating to a new-look Windows 10, as part of the upcoming Sun Valley update. Set for release later this year, we’ve now got another glimpse of what the update could visually look like with its ensemble of floating menus.

The newly spotted feature of the Windows 10 update (version 21H2) appears to support earlier speculation that Microsoft is overhauling the look of its traditional interface in the Sun Valley UI refresh.

We’ve already seen a smaller taskbar update ahead of the bigger Windows 10 Sun Valley revamp, but the new info suggests that Microsoft is indeed planning to introduce the floating feature, where there’ll be a small but visible gap between the taskbar and menu. It gives the appearance of the menu hovering above the bar — and it looks pretty swish.

Spotted by Windows Latest, the news was shared on Twitter, suggesting that Microsoft is introducing these floating menu concepts to the taskbar in the latest testing version of Windows 10.

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A menu afloat

Microsoft is constantly tweaking features under Windows' hood, but a Start Menu visually separate from the taskbar would be a notable modification to Windows' traditional appearance. 

Currently, it's not actually present with the Start Menu, but instead with the taskbar jumplist, reports Windows Latest. The taskbar jumplist is the menu interface that appears after right-clicking on the taskbar; this new UI for the taskbar (right-click menu) now launches menus within a floating box.

Windows Latest 'floating menu' screenshot

(Image credit: Windows Latest)

Waiting game for now

The first look at the actual code in the preview builds shows the feature as being currently hidden behind an experimental flag. Though it isn't live for testers right now, it's expected to be available for testing in the not too distant future.

Windows Latest notes that the floating menus will be a core feature in the refreshed UI, possibly extending beyond the Start Menu and taskbar to include the Action Center and several other areas of the interface. 

This could mean a floating-type design for the Clock flyout, Volume flyout and WiFi flyout. But is mere speculation at this stage without a similarly live example like that of the jumplist menu.

Besides news of Windows' makeover, fans have recently received a battery-saving feature and important bug fixes to improve the Windows user experience.

More: Windows 10 update will kill this feature no one wanted

Luke Wilson

Luke is a Trainee News Writer at T3 and contributor to Tom's Guide, having graduated from the DMU/Channel 4 Journalism School with an MA in Investigative Journalism. Before switching careers, he worked for Mindshare WW. When not indoors messing around with gadgets, he's a disc golf enthusiast, keen jogger, and fond of all things outdoors.