Windows 10 Icons Get Revamp

John Lister's picture

Microsoft is downplaying the floppy disk icon in Windows 10. It's part of an overhaul that will remove some design elements that have been in place since Windows 95.

The changes will appear in the second big update to Windows 10 this year, officially called 21H2, codenamed Sun Valley. It sounds as if the update is largely going to be about appearance rather than functionality, which is either a welcome sign of leaving well alone or an indication of a lack of ambition and a fear of screwing things up, depending on your level of cynicism.

As is normally the case with design refreshes, the aim is reportedly to make Windows 10 look "modern", which in 2021 apparently means more rounded corners. The changes are also designed to make key features such as the Start Menu, File Explorer and Action Center (the quick settings menu in the bottom right corner) look more consistent or, in Microsoft speak, unified.

Bulky Monitor Replaced

Perhaps the most notable changes will be to the default icons used in Windows. In some cases, the new icons will simply look a little cleaner and clearer with less pixellation, but in others the changes reflect change technology.

For example, the icon for changing display settings such as putting a screen into hibernation mode is currently a bulky CRT monitor, as was the norm in the mid-90s. That's now being replaced with a flat-screen display. (Source:

Other changes are to do with perspective: the printer icon switches from a diagonal-view to a head-on view, while a memory chip icon switches from diagonal to overhead.

Save Icon An Anachronism

The most notable changes may be to the icons for optical disk drives and floppy disk drives. They'll continue to show a CD or a floppy disk besides a PC drive bay but in both cases the disk will be much smaller and more in proportion with the bay.

Given optical drives are getting rarer and very few PCs running Windows 10 will have a floppy drive, the changes at least show Microsoft is being thorough in its graphical overhaul. It's also fair to note that these icons will at least be accurate for people who still need to use them.

That's a very different situation to software such as Microsoft Word still using the floppy disk image for a Save button despite the fact many people using it will have never used such a disk. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Is it worth Microsoft's time overhauling these icons? Are there any design and interface changes Microsoft should make to Windows? When was the last time you used a floppy disk?

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buzzallnight's picture

and was a field tech for 40 years
and after reading this packet
I had to go check Word.
That crappy save Icon is a floppy disk??!!!

That shows how important and useful Icons are,
I try to shut them off when I can.
They are too small to see clearly
and don't communicate information clearly
and would mostly be useful for people that can't read.

lightft_3936's picture

Buzallnight - As I am sure you can remember, that save icon in MS Word is NOT a floppy disk. And I am also sure you know it is actually a "stiffy" disk. 10" (custom), 8" and 5-1/4" floppy disks could be bent almost to the point of having edges touching and still be playable when flattened out. The drive design made sure they could be. The 3-1/2" stiffy will shatter and the metal shutter will be damaged irretrievably and fall off if bent more than about 15 degrees. I have thousands of both and drives for playing both types as well. Thanks to virtual machines, I am slowly reviewing, archiving and/or wiping them. Occasionally I find an old game on the floppies - care to go a round of "Perils of Rosella"? Play is fine, but load times give you lots of opportunity to get another cup of Joe. That’s the next one I archive onto an SSD as soon as I can get my wife to stop playing it.

A couple of years ago I bought a NEW 5-1/4" drive and have it stuffed in an enclosure for an early USB CD-ROM drive. The 3-1/2" USB connected drives are available everywhere and are great for retrieving files that were archived on those disks before cheap HDD's became available. I have one of them sitting on the NAS box on my desk right now.

I cut my teeth flipping switches on a DEC PDP-8, and graduated to feeding card decks into an IBM 360 a couple of years later. When I finally had my own IBM desktop with it's single, full-height floppy I was in heaven. At the time, my wife was doing tech illustration with a drafting machine and the documentation work on a console with dual 8" floppy drives. She even got a trip to Utah to spend a couple of weeks in a hot suit working on the equipment design for decommissioning uranium processing machinery for the govt. No, she cannot double as a night light!

Today everything is focusing back on central processing in server farms with backups all over the world. Remember when CompuServe was a fabulous thing, except when the phone lines got wet? There is no fiber where I live at the moment, but I guess I can live with 500+ MB coax for now, but I also remember the day I upgraded to a 28K modem - woo-hoo, what a time! OTOH, I just set a customer up with fiber Internet, and we are trying to decide if we need to upgrade to 10GB on the LAN just yet. I am thinking I will let the kid who wants my job deal with that one. Wait till he finds out he needs to restring most of the facility to get the throughput. Amazing what I am squeezing out of Cat 3 on some legs at the moment...

buzzallnight's picture

I do remember the 8" and 5-1/4" floppy disks.
I did play with a card reader in tech school.
I did learn logic gates with tubes in high school.
I have seen working magnetic core memory.
I have aligned the heads on a SMD disk drive.
I did work on the first Cad Cam systems that used the CRT screen as RAM!
I did build an audio amplifier kit that used vacuum tubes!
I do know how to use a tube tester and fixed TVs
and car radios
that used tubes!

rohnski's picture

Oh goodie, they are changing the visual cues I've been using for the last 30 years. Yup, that will make me more efficient. But they are only changing a few icons, not all of them. So the UI will continue to be a mish-mash of styles.
So they spent a couple of thousand bucks to create half a dozen new icons. BFD.
How about doing something useful, like killing the Settings <cr>app and restore the Control Panel. OK, I know that won't happen, so I wish they would either **it or get off the pot and finish moving all control from Control Panel to Settings and be done with it.