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: windowscentral.com)

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: uxdesign.cc)

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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Comments

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.

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.
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So they spent a couple of thousand bucks to create half a dozen new icons. BFD.
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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.
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