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The Windows 10 File Explorer is about to look very different

Microsoft is updating the look of the Windows 10 File Explorer to make it more modern. With the latest Windows Insider Dev Channel release, Microsoft started testing new modern folder icons for photos, desktop, documents, music, and even the recycle bin.

Thanks to these changes, Microsoft’s iconography in Windows 10 is now a little more consistent and should feel a bit different if you’re brave enough to install this work-in-progress beta version of Windows. The new icons even line up with previous changes such as the refreshed Start Menu look in last year’s Windows 10 October 2020 Update.

Finally gone are the old Windows 10 icons, which are largely leftovers from Windows 8.1. In its place are ones that are largely reminiscent of the design language of Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 10X operating system. Some examples of the icons can be seen above.

Microsoft says it changed things such as the orientation of the folder icons and the default file type icons. These build on previous new icons that Microsoft has introduced for Windows Security, the Narrator, and even the Notepad icon.

Microsoft even tweaked the Recycle Bin icon to a more fluent version. That icon is now more forward-facing and a little less three-dimensional. Other new icons cover OneDrive and disk drives. Of course, more icons can be changed in the future. “As you can imagine, there are a lot of icons in Windows 10, and more icons will continue to get updated over time,” Microsoft said.

Since Windows 10 Dev Channel builds are not linked to a specific release, and Microsoft has already announced the 21H1 Windows 10 update, it’s not certain when non-beta testers will see these changes. It is likely that these new icons could roll out to everyone in the next version of Windows 10, which is known in the Windows community as “Sun Valley,” in fall 2021.” Microsoft has not officially discussed this as of yet, and those plans are uncertain.

Until then, if you really want to experience the new look, you can opt your PC into the Windows Insider program, and choose the Dev Channel. Just be aware that Dev Channel builds are largely unstable and could cause issues with your PC.

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