Microsoft finally removes ancient Windows 95-era icons from Windows 10

It is not a secret that Windows 10 has UI consistency issues since the very first version. Microsoft tried to fix design problems many times, but things are still far from perfect and only worsen with every attempt. In fact, you do not need to dive deep into the jungles of the operating system to dig out design pieces that date back to Windows 95. Try to change an icon on the Desktop, and you will quickly discover some seriously old-school images. The good news is that Microsoft plans to fix this problem. At least, partially. This year, Windows 10 is to get a major redesign, codenamed "Sun Valley." A refreshed set of icons is part of that effort.


New icons are already available in Windows 10 preview builds. You can find them in Windows Explorer, Control Panel, stock apps, etc. These icons are part of shell32.dll and imageres.dll libraries, responsible for the icons you see across the operating system. In the current stable version of Windows 10, you can find many generations of different icon styles. There are Windows 95, Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 styles.

Build 21343 Download New Icons

The latest Windows 10 preview build has a much better icon consistency. If you open the shell32.dll file in the recently released build 21370 you will find a galore of shiny new icons that replaced old 16-bit images and classic XP icons that you could earlier find in this file.

New Icons

However, the problem is still there. Some of the most popular icons now offer a modern look, while others retain 25-years old style and insanely low resolution. Although things are getting better, you will probably still be able to stumble upon some ancient icons relatively easily.

Microsoft has already announced new iconography for File Explorer, but the company is yet to show its plans regarding Windows 10 UI redesign. This month, Microsoft holds its annual Build conference, where you can expect some big news about the next Windows 10 update. According to numerous reports, rumors, and leaks, the operating system from Microsoft will get rounded corners, new flyout menus, refreshed control center, etc. Again, we do not have official confirmation from Microsoft, but you can expect Windows 10 to look more like the recently leaked Windows 10X.

With the new icon set, we can only wonder what the company will do with Windows asking users to insert a floppy drive during a new driver installation. Windows 10 is still full of similar blasts from the past.

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Author: Taras Buria

Taras is here to cover stories about Microsoft and everything around, although sometimes he prefers Apple.

10 thoughts on “Microsoft finally removes ancient Windows 95-era icons from Windows 10”

  1. They need to redo “This PC” icon somehow, so it’s not a plain monitor. Either use a laptop, or put a desktop tower next to it.

    1. Hi Sargon,

      I may have a solution for your problem with “This PC.” That icon can be changed. I’ve done it myself. This is how I did it on my own PC. Make it work for you…
      1/ Find a replacement icon you like. My favorite source is the website Icon Archive ( Download it to your computer.
      2/ Now go into “Settings.”
      3/ On the screen that says “Windows Settings”, click or tap on “Personalization.”
      4/ On the “Personalization” screen, click or tap on “Themes” on the left-side panel.
      5/ On the “Themes” screen, on the right-side panel, you will see “Related Settings.” Under “Related Settings,” click or tap on “Desktop Icon Settings.”
      6/ That takes you to a window called “Desktop Icon Settings.” From here, you are able to change different Desktop icons including “This PC,” or restore the default icon, however you see fit.

      (The Boca Deb)

  2. How did you produce the change icon windows shown in this story? I’ll be darned if I can get them to come up. Please tell us (or me, at least) more!

  3. Found it. You have to open a shortcut, then click Change Icon in the Shortcut tab, then the Change icon window opens. Learned something new and interesting today, thanks!

  4. This idiotic change is one of the most incredibly, stupidly, unneeded efforts ever by MS.
    It is is of absolutely ZERO actual worth to anyone or his dog. No one can possibly benefit in the slightest degree from such pointless tinkering
    Unless there is a clear and inarguably practical NEED to change something, it should not be changed. Using the word “Modern” is utterly meaningless in this context. It is a typically useless buzz word, beaten to overused death in present day superficiality, muddled thinking and almost complete absence of logic or common sense.
    If is infinitely more important that well established and well understood information, including symbols, is NOT fooled around with by self-important smart alecs.
    Needlessly changing such solidly established information indicators is totally counterproductive, producing absolutely nothing of the slightest value to anyone while needlessly confusing, and irritating millions.

  5. Taras, did you even look at the old(er) icons on a hi-res computer screen? Or did you take Microsoft’s word for it without doing your own due diligence?

    Seriously? There was not a thing wrong with the old(er) icons. The new icons are even uglier than before. Who does Nadella and his sycophants think they are fooling?

    Thanks, but no thanks. If i want to prettify something I know how to do it myself. I don’t need Microsoft’s help and their so-called modern icons.

    I understand the need for innovation, but not at the cost of stability and useability. They need to stop trying to fix what never broke in the first place instead of making it break even worse.

    1. Razl,

      You nailed it! Well done! And you did it so *competently*! (humor intended)

      All of these so-called innovations, which really aren’t, makes me wonder about Nadella’s ability to lead as Microsoft’s CEO. His hands-off management style may seem empowering, but it creates so much disorganization that one hand will never be able to figure out what the other is doing (to borrow from an old cliche).

      (The Boca Deb)

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