RIP Windows 95 Icons

RIP Windows 95 Icons
Screenshot: Joanna Nelius/Gizmodo

Bits and pieces of Microsoft’s sweeping aesthetic changes to Windows 10, codenamed Sun Valley, have dropped over the last few months. The OS is getting support for the Advanced Audio Codec (AAC) codec over Bluetooth, new folder icons, and reportedly a much-needed overhaul to its Microsoft Store user interface. (There may even be a new default font for Word, because apparently Calibri isn’t good enough anymore.) But Microsoft is also finally getting rid of remnants of Windows 95 that have somehow stuck around for 15 years: custom folder icons.

According to Windows Latest, the Sun Valley update expected later this year modernizes the extra folder icons in the Shell32.DLL module, the module that’s existed in all Windows operating systems since Windows 95. If you’re unsure what those are, create a new folder on your Windows 10 desktop. Right click on it, go to Properties, click on the Customise tab, and then click on the Change Icon button at the bottom. That tiny window that pops up with all those icons? Those have been around since the mid-’90s, and are soon getting a facelift.

Microsoft has quietly made subtle changes to a few of those icons over the years, but nothing as robust has what’s coming to Windows 10. Classic icons like the hibernation monitor and floppy disks look totally different, although modernised to match the style of the new Drive and Recycle Bin desktop icons in the Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 21343.

Like those icons, nearly all the new icons in the Shell32.DLL module are all front-facing, and I have to say they look nice, It’s about time Microsoft changed up the old CRT monitor for its hibernation icon and changed it into a sleek ISP display. (That’s what I’m imagining it is, anyway.) But the history tech nerd in me does appreciate that Microsoft isn’t completely getting rid of all the icons with a floppy disk on them, even though regular consumers don’t have a need for those anymore.

There are many more icons available than what Windows Central shows, like a CD-RW, MSN Explorer, and iPod-esque icon, but those are particularly outdated. It’s not clear what Microsoft intends to do with those once Sun Valley rolls out to every Windows 10 user, but we could hear more at Microsoft’s Build conference later this month.