Over the last several months, Microsoft has been working on a new design for Windows 10. Most recently, the company has started rolling out new icons, including colourful folder designs for common folders in File Explorer, like Documents and Downloads.
The new icons are available now as part of the Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 21343. Presumably, the new icons will eventually roll out to all Windows 10 users, although it’s not clear when (or if Microsoft will make any changes before the official roll-out).
In a Windows Insider blog post about the new icons, Microsoft said it changed the orientation, default file type icons and more to create “greater consistency across Microsoft products that show files.”
Instead of the vertical files we see now, the file icons are horizontal. Further, the new icons show closed file folders instead of the partially open ones like before. Another significant change was the removal of the file portion itself. For example, the Pictures folder previously showed a photo with the partially open folder. The new design shows a blue folder with a Picture icon on it — for those paying attention, the icon is similar to the design of the new Photos app icon released several months ago.
Another orientation change is with the Recycle Bin icon, which is now front-facing instead of the old three-quarter view.
These new icon changes come on the heels of a Fluent Design-style revamp of Windows 10 system icons.
So far, opinion on the new icons has largely been mixed. Some people are fans, while others hate the new look. One criticism of the new icons is they look like what you’d find in macOS and, while I see the issue, macOS also looks great — why not imitate that? Plus, Microsoft seems to be working towards a larger visual overhaul for Windows 10, so I plan to reserve judgement until the full refresh is available.