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What's New in Windows 10: A Simplified Look

Windows 10’s appearance has remained fairly stagnant for the past few years, with just a few tweaks around the edges. But Microsoft is finally updating the look of its desktop OS.

On tap are a new News and Information panel and a simplified set of system icons. They’re currently available to a subset of Windows Insider program members in the Insider Dev channel with Build 21327. For everyone else, the new elements are expected to appear in the fall release, which may also include other new design features, like floating system panels and rounded window corners.

Those are significant changes to the interface’s appearance, but they’re not as drastic as those in Microsoft’s answer to Chrome OS, Windows 10X. The Beta Insider channel is where you’ll find previews of the next version, this Spring’s 21H1 version.

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News and Interests

Windows 10’s Start menu already includes Weather and News buttons to get you quick info on those topics, but the company is cooking up a new dedicated panel that will pop up from the Taskbar complete with story images. The panel opens full stories in your web browser, where the presentation has also been redesigned, with larger cards for each story. The cards even include Facebook-like Like buttons so you can react to the stories, which will show up in other users’ feeds and presumably influence what shows up on your own feed.

News and Interests web interface

New System Icons

Since its announcement at the 2017 Build conference, the Fluent Design System has been slowly making its way into the Windows system and apps. Fluent emphasizes transparency, subtle animation, and simplified typography and iconography. The new Dev Build 21327 introduces a new font for icons, called Segoe Fluent Icons. Their simplified, line-drawn appearance continues the trend away from skeuomorphism in interfaces.

New Fluent Segoe system icons

The build also includes other fixes and updates, such as a 64-bit version of PowerShell for ARM64 devices. To sign up for Insider builds and try out the new features for yourself (while keeping in mind that it’s prerelease software without guarantees of stability), head to insider.windows.com.

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