Microsoft getting rid of Windows 95 icons in the Windows 10 Sun Valley 21H2 Cumulative Feature Update

Microsoft Windows 95 icons Win10 Fluent Design
Microsoft spring-cleaning Shell32.DLL and retiring Windows 95-era icons. Pic credit: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

The upcoming Sun Valley 21H2 Cumulative Feature Update is shaping up to be one of the biggest aesthetics improvements for Windows 10. In fact, Microsoft is even retiring or refreshing several ‘Folder Icons’ that have existed since Windows 95.

Microsoft’s sweeping visual rejuvenation” of Windows 10 goes beyond the superficial. The company is planning to refresh the Windows 95-era icons that many-a-times pop up during routine usage.

Microsoft spring-cleaning Shell32.DLL module and ditching older Windows-95 era Folder icons with modern iterations:

The Sun Valley Cumulative Feature Update, expected later this year, significantly modernizes the “extra” folder icons in the Shell32.DLL module. There are several Windows 10 OS users who might not be familiar with the Shell32.DLL module, but it has existed since Windows 95.

All major Windows operating systems, starting with Windows 95, allowed folder icon customization using the Shell32.DLL module. To bring up the extra icons set, first create a simple file folder on the Windows 10 desktop.

This folder will have the plain and modern ‘folder’ icon. Right-click on the newly created folder, go to Properties, click on the Customize tab, and then click on the Change Icon button at the bottom. A tiny window will pop up with several, and oftentimes unseen icons.

The Shell32.DLL module, and its extra set of icons, have been around since the mid-’90s. Microsoft has been making subtle changes to the set, but the entire collection should receive a modern-day facelift.

All of the new icons that the Sun Valley Update could introduce would be front-facing. For a long time, quite a few icons were 3D and reminded of old hardware.

Despite updating the icons within the Shell32.DLL module, Microsoft is retaining the iconic “Floppy Drive” icon. Needless to mention, no modern hardware needs the same. Similarly, CD-RW, MSN Explorer, and iPod-reminiscent icon could survive the spring-cleaning and modernization drive.

Microsoft improving “consistency” with the ‘Fluent Design’ aesthetics:

Microsoft has never officially or openly detailed its Sun Valley work. However, a job listing earlier this year teased a “sweeping visual rejuvenation of Windows.”

Additionally, the Windows OS maker did reveal a few new system icons for Windows 10. The company even teased File Explorer icon improvements, and overall, colorful Windows 10 icons.

With the Windows 10 Sun Valley 21H2 Cumulative Feature Update, Microsoft is attempting to offer a high level of consistency. The operating system has undergone several improvements over the years, and this has led to some inconsistencies in the aesthetic elements.

Although the upcoming 21H2 update might seem superficial, there are several tweaks, stability improvements, features, and new functionalities. Windows 10 Insider program participants have been trialing several of these new inclusions or changes.

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