The evolution of the File Explorer icon in Windows 10

File Explorer is the default file management application which comes bundled with every modern version of Windows. It allows the user to perform all basic file operations like copy, move, delete, rename and so on. During the development of Windows 10, Microsoft was updating folders icons, control panel icons and system app icons several times. Here is how the File Explorer icon was changed during Windows 10 development.

The first build with the new Explorer icon was Windows 10 build 9841:
notification center windows 10
The application got a dark yellow icon:

The next major update happened in Windows 10 build 9926, where the icon became bright yellow:

Microsoft was heavily criticized for making these icons:

So after a couple of builds, Windows 10 got a new, more polished icon with a softer yellow color, which looks similar to the modern icon:

Windows 10 build 10130 had the following icon:

In Windows 10 build 10158, Microsoft mixed the updated icon from build 10130 with the "old" icon from build 9926, so the resulting icon had the shape of the icon from build 9926, however, it had the colors and size from build 10130's Explorer icon:

The same icon is used in Insider Preview build 14352.

A new icon also appeared in Windows 10 build 14328:

The icon was almost colorless similar to the modern icons Microsoft is using for Universal apps:

While the icon was good for blending in with Universal apps in the Start menu, most users seem to have sent negative feedback about this new icon. So, in Windows 10 build 14352, the previous colorful icon has made its return:

Just for the sake of comparison, here is the Explorer icon used in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1:

And here is the Windows XP icon: Now you: tell us which icon is your favorite icon for File Explorer?

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12 thoughts on “The evolution of the File Explorer icon in Windows 10

  1. brian

    I’m very sorry, I don’t know where to post this, but can we uninstall windows 10 Connect app in build 14352?
    thanks in advance.

  2. Sargon

    The previous colorful icon didn’t REALLY make a return. Take a closer look. The “Blue Case” no longer casts a shadow.

    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Yep you are right.
      They removed its shadow.
      So it is modified to be more flat.


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