It’s no secret that Microsoft is planning a pretty dramatic redesign of its Windows 10 operating system with the change in the pipeline for later this year. Dubbed Sun Valley within the company, the update will encompass every element of the desktop operating system – from the Start Menu to the app icons in File Explorer. While we’ve had sneak peeks of the all-new operating system before, Microsoft has teased another core element of its new look. 

Microsoft has revealed the new icons that will be used throughout the overhauled operating system. The new icons are found in the latest beta version of the desktop operating system, known as an “Insider Build”. Windows 10 Insider Build 21343 is the first to ship with these new icons. And they’re very different.

The new look is a good indication that Sun Valley will be as sweeping and all-encompassing as rumoured. Microsoft has ditched the manilla-coloured flap folders that previously illustrated the digital document-holders. Until now, Microsoft has always used some variant of the same design – a flap folder propped open, with a small icon to illustrate the purpose of the system folder emerging from it (a comically oversized music note for the “Music” folder, a strip of film-stock for the “Videos” one, etc).

For folders created by PC owners, Microsoft won’t use an icon, but would show small previews of the content – previews of PDFs, images, and more.

But with the upcoming redesign of Windows 10, that template has been thrown out. Instead, Microsoft is colour-coding its folder icons and adding a symbol to represent what each folder should be used for. Not only that, but the new icons are much flatter than their predecessors with no three-dimensional illusion anywhere to be seen.

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The new folders leverage Microsoft’s so-called “Fluent” design principles, which will be present in every part of the operating system following the “Sun Valley” overhaul.

When users create their own folders, it will be represented with a single, flat folder icon. Microsoft will no longer show a preview of the contents – something that some users could find a step backwards when the new design rolls out worldwide.

“Those new folders no longer show a preview of the files inside on them. Another functionality removed, MS fanboys rejoice!” one beta tester moaned.

As well as new icons, Microsoft is also expected to unify all system preferences into the dedicated Settings app. This was something Microsoft had intended to do before the original launch of Windows 10, almost six years ago. However, all this time later, settings are still distributed across Settings and Control Panel.

A redesigned Start Menu and taskbar are set to be some of the flashiest new additions to the design. Although there’s no finalised release date yet, we’d usually expect to see the autumn update from Microsoft roll out to Windows 10 users around October.