Windows 10 “Sun Valley” will do away with Windows 95 era icons

Windows 10 “Sun Valley” will do away with Windows 95 era icons

c:windowssystem32shell32.dll —

The results are more subtle than you might expect from a 25+ year visual update.

  • In this image, courtesy of Windows Latest, we see new icons from a Sun Valley preview build on the left versus production icons on the right.

  • This Microsoft concept image from April 2020 shows what upcoming Windows 10 UI changes might look like, focusing on a revamped start menu.


Back in January, we reported on Sun Valley—a coming “sweeping visual rejuvenation” of Windows 10’s user interface. This week, Windows Latest leaked new detail about the upcoming makeover: There’s a new set of icons in C:WindowsSystem32Shell32.dllreplacing classic Windows icons that date back to the Windows 95 era.

The changes are surprisingly subtle. Most of the new icons are extremely similar to the nearly 30-year old versions they’re replacing. Elderly symbols such as floppy disks and floppy disk drives persist in the new icon set—the visual style is updated on these venerable references, but that’s about it.

  • The floppy-derived icons in Windows now (right) look like 1990s-era hardware—the Sun Valley refresh replacements (left) look more like late 1970s/early 1980s equipment.

    Jim Salter

  • The disk-related icons in the Sun Valley refresh bear a striking resemblance to drives in late 1970s/early 1980s gear like the Apple ][ or this 1983 model PC XT 5160.

  • Windows 10’s current Win95-derived disk icons seem to have taken design cues from then-current hardware, such as this late-’90s HP workstation.

Ironically, in the case of the floppy disk related icons, the equipment looks older. The drives in the older icons took styling cues from then-current 1990s-era equipment, but the replacement icons look more like equipment from the late 1970s or very early 1980s.

Windows 10 users can expect to see these and other Sun Valley visual refreshes show up in Windows 10 21H2, scheduled to arrive this October. We expect to see lots of rounded corners, File Explorer icon improvements, and updates to both Start menu and built-in applications alongside the new icons on display here.

Listing image by Windows Latest

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