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Windows 10 gets new File Explorer icons as part of a visual overhaul

Microsoft gives File Explorer in Windows 10 a visual overhaul with new icons. The software giant has begun rolling out a test version of Windows 10 that includes changes to the system icons found in File Explorer, including the Recycle Bin, Document Folders, and drives such as disk drives.

“Several changes, such as the orientation of the folder icons and the default file type icons, have been made to provide greater consistency across Microsoft products that display files,” said Amanda Langowski, Microsoft’s Windows Insider Manager. “In particular, the top-level user folders such as desktops, documents, downloads and images have a new design that will make it a little easier to separate them in an instant.”


The new trash can icon.
Image: Microsoft

Perhaps boldly, Microsoft also notes that “and yes, the Recycle Bin icon is also up to date!” – a clear nod to some changes the company tried to make in the Recycle Bin earlier that did not go well with Windows users.

These icon changes are quite small in the large system of Windows, but they are part of a broader effort by Microsoft to modernize Windows. Microsoft unveiled new system icons for Windows 10 earlier this month, and the company previously updated some of its Windows 10 icons last year with colorful versions and also fine-tuned the Start menu to make it more streamlined.

Microsoft’s new File Explorer icons.
Image: Microsoft

Microsoft is also planning a “sweeping visual rejuvenation of Windows,” codenamed “Sun Valley.” The company is expected to detail its visual plans and more about the future of Windows in the coming months as part of a dedicated news event.

The icon updates also come with some File Explorer layout adjustments. Microsoft is adding extra padding between the elements of File Explorer, and it will be a compact mode to return to the classic File Explorer mode. The updated display is a little more touch-optimized and complements the new icons.

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