Image: Microsoft

As part of its recent Windows 10 October 2020 update, Microsoft added a few visual tweaks to the Start menu to improve the look of the OS, but while those changes are a definite improvement, the company may be prepping a complete overhaul that reinvents Windows 10’s aesthetic completely.

According to Windows Central’s sources, Microsoft will be rolling out a major update in 2021 to replace many of Windows 10’s top-level interfaces, such as the Start menu, Action Center, and File Explorer. The changes will presumably include a sleeker, modernized skin, as well as refined menus and new animations.

“This UI project is codenamed ‘Sun Valley’ internally and is expected to ship as part of the Windows 10 ‘Cobalt’ release scheduled for the holiday 2021 season,” Windows Central reported.

“Internal documentation describes the project as ‘reinvigorating’ and modernizing the Windows desktop experience to keep up with customer expectation in a world driven by other modern and lightweight platforms.”

While Windows 10 isn’t the worst-looking operating system, a visual uplift is certainly welcome in light of its countless legacy apps, whose designs and icons have become clearly outdated.

Microsoft has also had a habit of ignoring or introducing inconsistencies (e.g., using Windows 7-style menus with new features) with every update, which is something that “Sun Valley” will hopefully address.

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40 Comments

  1. ” The changes will presumably include a sleeker, modernized skin, as well as refined menus and new animations. ”

    Oh yay, I just can’t wait for another update that moves old things around or deletes them and makes it all the more confusing to find menus and settings.

  2. I just hope they pull another Windows 8 on us so I won’t even know how to turn my PC off … moar bigguh tiles!!

  3. [QUOTE=”ThreeDee, post: 22140, member: 164″]
    I just hope they pull another Windows 8 on us so I won’t even know how to turn my PC off … moar bigguh tiles!!
    [/QUOTE]
    Try doing a remote desktop to Server 2016 (retains the full-screen menu) on another continent, and from that server, to one on a third…

    We’re talking dial-up speeds with worse latency here, and you’re waiting for that stupid screen to load πŸ˜€

    [QUOTE=”Ranulfo, post: 22133, member: 441″]
    Oh yay, I just can’t wait for another update that moves old things around or deletes them and makes it all the more confusing to find menus and settings.
    [/QUOTE]
    The migration of stuff to the Settings app has been a little annoying, partly because you sometimes just have to look up where a particular setting went, and partly because they didn’t just do it all at once — so if you run the dark theme like a normal human, your regularly get blasted with bright white ‘classic’ apps.

  4. [QUOTE=”LazyGamer, post: 22142, member: 1367″]
    Try doing a remote desktop to Server 2016 (retains the full-screen menu) on another continent, and from that server, to one on a third…

    We’re talking dial-up speeds with worse latency here, and you’re waiting for that stupid screen to load πŸ˜€

    The migration of stuff to the Settings app has been a little annoying, partly because you sometimes just have to look up where a particular setting went, and partly because they didn’t just do it all at once — so if you run the dark theme like a normal human, your regularly get blasted with bright white ‘classic’ apps.
    [/QUOTE]
    With the settings app abomination they are trying to get people to use search. Even worse, Windows is now constantly nagging about using your voice to do things if you don’t know how to turn that off, especially when you have a microphone plugged in. Who needs convenience when you could be wasting time yelling at your computer.

  5. I dread every forced w10 update. Something always ends up missing after them, some feature “streamlined” some user choice curtailed. Maybe the online account requirement nags you every time not just once. It’s all downhill I say.

  6. [QUOTE]While Windows 10 isn’t the worst-looking operating system, a visual uplift is certainly welcome in light of its countless legacy apps, whose designs and icons have become clearly outdated. [/QUOTE]
    Yes, because that’s exactly what we need an even more “lightweight” and mobile optimized UI for a desktop OS. Makes sense (windows 8 banging on the door intensifies)

    Every new ui element and app in w10 is touch optimized. WTF would you do that on a DESKTOP OS?

  7. Oh for fucks sake.

    I’m only just starting to get used to the current interface, and wish I had the old one, and they are going to change it again?

    Dont get me wrong. I’m all in favor of IMPROVEMENTS, but most of the time these style updates seem just arbitrary and annoying.

  8. [QUOTE=”MadMummy76, post: 22229, member: 1298″]
    Every new ui element and app in w10 is touch optimized. WTF would you do that on a DESKTOP OS?
    [/QUOTE]

    Sadly, that’s the way everything is going. Desktop is an afterthought these days. There is some idiot trainer in UI school somewhere is teaching people to make all the font sizes HUGE, (nothing should ever be above 10pt IMHO), with HUGE buttons with dead space so people can fat finger them on a stupid touch interface.

    More and more I feel the need to view webpages at 80% or its just too large and picturebook looking.

    We are not toddlers. Stop giving us toddler interfaces!

    The denser the information, the better! The less empty dead space the better! There is no reason a button should ever be bigger than 2x ti 3x the mouse pointer.

    Why does everything always have to be designed for the lowest common denominator? I wish we could just remove all non-tech enthusiasts from ever using any tech, and be done with it.

  9. For all the crap that Apple gets… OS X has been around for almost 20 years now, and if you went all the way back to the beginning in 2001 and then looked at the latest (Big Sur) set to come out later this year:

    It’s evolved a bit, but pretty much the same. If you knew how to use one and where to find everything, you still can even 16 major revisions later.

    [IMG]https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/d/d8/MacOSX10-0screenshot.png[/IMG]

    [IMG]https://cnet3.cbsistatic.com/img/IVbDq7qNwtSlTmiXijF3tYcWc30=/940×0/2020/06/22/6f9985ba-4558-4b74-b840-7bfcc6feeecf/screen-shot-2020-06-22-at-2-11-39-pm.png[/IMG]

  10. [QUOTE=”hubaduba, post: 22245, member: 1423″]
    The best improvement they could make would be Win7 Aero with a dark theme.
    [/QUOTE]

    I just wish they would get rid of all of the new flat configuration screens and go back to the old school control panel config screens.

    I hate those new flat config screens so much. I hate them with a passion.

  11. [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 22242, member: 96″]
    For all the crap that Apple gets… OS X has been around for almost 20 years now, and if you went all the way back to the beginning in 2001 and then looked at the latest (Big Sur) set to come out later this year:

    It’s evolved a bit, but pretty much the same. If you knew how to use one and where to find everything, you still can even 16 major revisions later.
    [/QUOTE]
    I’ve never seen apple get crap for their UI. What they get it for is well earned.

  12. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 22248, member: 203″]
    I hate those new flat config screens so much. I hate them with a passion.
    [/QUOTE]
    It’s not even just the look. But half of the functionality is carried over to the new settings app, while the rest remains in the old control panel. So what you could do within one dialog panel previously now you need to look for in two completely separate places.

  13. This is like my local grocery store. As soon as I get used to the layout, they go out of their way and change everything.

  14. [QUOTE=”northrop, post: 22254, member: 15″]
    This is like my local grocery store. As soon as I get used to the layout, they go out of their way and change everything.
    [/QUOTE]

    [ATTACH type=”full” width=”317px”]597[/ATTACH]

  15. This is why I put some entries in my router to block Microsoft’s update. I wait to see how bad everything is before allowing updates to happen on my network now. My life has been much more pleasant.

  16. [QUOTE=”LeRoy_Blanchard, post: 22267, member: 137″]
    This is why I put some entries in my router to block Microsoft’s update. I wait to see how bad everything is before allowing updates to happen on my network now. My life has been much more pleasant.
    [/QUOTE]

    I usually just bite the bullet on these things. I want to make sure I get all of the security patches. That is a far higher priority than having to put up with UI or other changes I don’t like.

  17. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 22269, member: 203″]
    I usually just bite the bullet on these things. I want to make sure I get all of the security patches. That is a far higher priority than having to put up with UI or other changes I don’t like.
    [/QUOTE]

    Yeah I take my chances on the “security” patches that I receive. I’ve had way more issues with Windows 10 breaking things with every forced update (more than I can remember) than I have security breaches (0).

    Back in the days before Windows 10 (well up until at least Windows 7) you had the option to pick and choose your updates. Security updates. Check. Everything else. Uncheck. Until they started hiding malware crap in the security updates. Now they just force all updates on you.

  18. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 22269, member: 203″]
    I usually just bite the bullet on these things. I want to make sure I get all of the security patches. That is a far higher priority than having to put up with UI or other changes I don’t like.
    [/QUOTE]
    You ever consider Win10 LTSB/LTSC? If I recall correctly, you still get the security updates, but none of the feature updates and other nonsense you probably don’t want. Then again, maybe it doesn’t matter, cuz if I recall correctly, your Win10 system is just a side-system you have mostly for gaming. So less risk involved.

    [QUOTE=”LeRoy_Blanchard, post: 22273, member: 137″]
    Back in the days before Windows 10 (well up until at least Windows 7) you had the option to pick and choose your updates. Security updates. Check. Everything else. Uncheck.
    [/QUOTE]
    I really fucking miss this. Picking and choosing only the Windows updates that you wanted. For Win7 I kept a list of the bad/unwanted updates, in case they re-appeared (and sometimes they came back with a different KB number), and cuz I could not possibly remember them all. There were a good number of them. Every time Patch Tuesday rolled around, I would scan through the updates and check against my list to make sure any assholes weren’t trying to sneak on, and add to the list as needed. Towards the end of Win7’s life, Microsoft started throwing out those cumulative updates, where one update would contain many, so you still couldn’t pick and choose. At least not with the granularity you could before.

    With Win10 my general rule is wait at least a week (if not longer) for regular Patch Tuesday updates and such, wait months for each of the major updates, the ones that come twice a year (and test on another machine first if possible).

  19. Ah back when we were in control of not only the hardware we put in our systems but the software we ran on our systems. Little did we know those were going to be the good ole days.

  20. [QUOTE=”DrezKill, post: 22275, member: 230″]
    You ever consider Win10 LTSB/LTSC? If I recall correctly, you still get the security updates, but none of the feature updates and other nonsense you probably don’t want. Then again, maybe it doesn’t matter, cuz if I recall correctly, your Win10 system is just a side-system you have mostly for gaming. So less risk involved.[/QUOTE]

    I’d jump on LTSB if I could buy it, but I can’t. Unless you are a corporate or educational volume license buyer there is absolutely no way to get it. At least not legally.

    But yeah. I use windows for two things. Games, and I also have a Win10 VM on my linux desktop for when I work from home (which granted, is all the time these days)

  21. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 22280, member: 203″]
    I’d jump on LTSB if I could buy it, but I can’t. Unless you are a corporate or educational volume license buyer there is absolutely no way to get it. At least not legally.

    But yeah. I use windows for two things. Games, and I also have a Win10 VM on my linux desktop for when I work from home (which granted, is all the time these days)
    [/QUOTE]

    Well your comment makes more sense now if you don’t use Windows primarily nor do you run it on more than one system. For my BOINC farm I run Windows 10 on multiple computers and it never fails for Windows Update to break them across the board. I then have to go into each one and manually fix them so the work continues.

  22. [QUOTE=”LeRoy_Blanchard, post: 22282, member: 137″]
    Well your comment makes more sense now if you don’t use Windows primarily nor do you run it on more than one system. For my BOINC farm I run Windows 10 on multiple computers and it never fails for Windows Update to break them across the board. I then have to go into each one and manually fix them so the work continues.
    [/QUOTE]

    If it’s just a BOINC farm, have you considered using the Linux BOINC client?

    I’ve often considered running BOINC, but… you know… power bill…

    So I keep my idle power cycles as idle power cycles, and shut down everything that is not a server when not in use.

  23. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 22288, member: 203″]
    If it’s just a BOINC farm, have you considered using the Linux BOINC client?

    I’ve often considered running BOINC, but… you know… power bill…

    So I keep my idle power cycles as idle power cycles, and shut down everything that is not a server when not in use.
    [/QUOTE]

    Not all projects run on Linux. All projects, except 1, run on Windows. So I only run the Linux client on two rigs, then run VMs if I need to hit the Linux only project hard.

  24. I can’t say I’m challenged by UI changes much; I also distro hop quite a bit, as well as use distros for work that have older UIs.

    If you can find your way around different versions of Linux OSs with different DEs, you can find your way around Windows 10.

    Assuming that you don’t want to search for something, you at least know that it’s [I]either [/I]a legacy control app or in the settings app. I’ve had significantly more trouble with Linux distros that try to be ‘creative’, and you have no idea where they put a particular setting.

    As for the voice stuff, I pity those that don’t turn it off on the outset.

    [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 22280, member: 203″]
    I’d jump on LTSB if I could buy it, but I can’t. Unless you are a corporate or educational volume license buyer there is absolutely no way to get it. At least not legally.
    [/QUOTE]
    I looked into this really, really hard. Good luck even getting it less than legally (but still in an activatable state). And realistically, while it’d likely be a fine ‘work’ OS, you really don’t want to be missing feature updates on a gaming system. That could come back to bite you.

    One other thing I’ve tried is using scripts to ‘strip’ Windows before you start using it, i.e., right after install. Used to be called something like ‘decrapifier’, and seemed to work well when I did the process a few years back, but obviously this is a limited solution.

  25. [QUOTE=”LazyGamer, post: 22326, member: 1367″]
    I can’t say I’m challenged by UI changes much; I also distro hop quite a bit, as well as use distros for work that have older UIs.

    If you can find your way around different versions of Linux OSs with different DEs, you can find your way around Windows 10.
    [/QUOTE]
    To some extent.

    I think what is more frustrating is the lack of consistency. I mean, it’s all slowly migrating to the new flat UI (which is a subjective design opinion)… but for the longest time, Win10 has been some Frankenstein of MMC panels, Control Panels, and new Settings screens. And each update moves things … so for years it was in an MMC panel, then next update the MMC panel is gone and it’s in a Settings screen, then next update that Settings screen gets split into 4 different Screens, and what you are looking for is in the wind.

    It’s not all that different than bouncing between different distros on Linux.. but at least changing distros is a conscious decision on your part, or is a difference between two systems that you are accessing. This from Microsoft is a forced change on a system that otherwise would be perfectly stable, all in the name of .. I’m not really sure. They have been so inconsistent for so long with their UI Design, that in trying to unify it finally they have introduced even more disorder and chaos.

    I think the ultimate fix is that they need to just stop monkeying with the UI stuff… new UI = new release. Then people can migrate if/when they want to the new UI stuff. I know that goes against the new “Win104Ever” philosophy, but that’s how it was done prior to WIn10, and people could jump or skip releases as they saw fit.

  26. [QUOTE=”LazyGamer, post: 22142, member: 1367″]
    Try doing a remote desktop to Server 2016 (retains the full-screen menu) on another continent, and from that server, to one on a third…
    [/QUOTE]

    I’m pretty sure you’re talking about 2012 server not 2016. But the point stands. I manage several hundred servers remotely so I get it.

  27. [QUOTE=”LeRoy_Blanchard, post: 22294, member: 137″]
    Not all projects run on Linux. All projects, except 1, run on Windows. So I only run the Linux client on two rigs, then run VMs if I need to hit the Linux only project hard.
    [/QUOTE]

    Ah, I just assumed it was some sort of virtual environment such that all projects ran on all platforms.

  28. [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 22398, member: 96″]
    To some extent.

    I think what is more frustrating is the lack of consistency. I mean, it’s all slowly migrating to the new flat UI (which is a subjective design opinion)… but for the longest time, Win10 has been some Frankenstein of MMC panels, Control Panels, and new Settings screens. And each update moves things … so for years it was in an MMC panel, then next update the MMC panel is gone and it’s in a Settings screen, then next update that Settings screen gets split into 4 different Screens, and what you are looking for is in the wind.

    It’s not all that different than bouncing between different distros on Linux.. but at least changing distros is a conscious decision on your part, or is a difference between two systems that you are accessing. This from Microsoft is a forced change on a system that otherwise would be perfectly stable, all in the name of .. I’m not really sure. They have been so inconsistent for so long with their UI Design, that in trying to unify it finally they have introduced even more disorder and chaos.

    I think the ultimate fix is that they need to just stop monkeying with the UI stuff… new UI = new release. Then people can migrate if/when they want to the new UI stuff. I know that goes against the new “Win104Ever” philosophy, but that’s how it was done prior to WIn10, and people could jump or skip releases as they saw fit.
    [/QUOTE]

    In Linux it is easy though. Want to configure something? Look for a text config file in /etc

    They are even searchable with find and grep!

    In windows 10, I have on occasion wanted to tear my hair out looking for where they moved the damn config menu I remember.

  29. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 22423, member: 203″]
    In Linux it is easy though. Want to configure something? Look for a text config file in /etc

    They are even searchable with find and grep!

    In windows 10, I have on occasion wanted to tear my hair out looking for where they moved the **** config menu I remember.
    [/QUOTE]
    Could not agree more.

  30. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 22423, member: 203″]
    In windows 10, I have on occasion wanted to tear my hair out looking for where they moved the **** config menu I remember.
    [/QUOTE]

    Wow. The profanity censor makes it look like I have a WAY more foul mouth than I actually do. That was just a four letter word beginning in D and ending in N. :p

  31. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 22422, member: 203″]
    Ah, I just assumed it was some sort of virtual environment such that all projects ran on all platforms.
    [/QUOTE]

    Some projects do utilize VMs to run their projects on any platform, but those projects, for the most part, suck. VB creates all sorts of other problems.

  32. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 22425, member: 203″]
    Wow. The profanity censor makes it look like I have a WAY more foul mouth than I actually do. That was just a four letter word beginning in D and ending in N. :p
    [/QUOTE]
    That is pretty damming, if you ask me.

  33. [IMG]https://image.shutterstock.com/image-photo/view-dam-hydroelectric-power-station-260nw-1166660776.jpg[/IMG]

  34. I also hate the forced updates. I wish it would go back to spaced out (and OPTIONAL) service packs for UI enhancements, and something resembling a regular schedule for security updates via windows update. Right now they just push updates whenever MS feels like it. Hate it. And their QA/testing has gone in the sh!tter the last couple years.

  35. [QUOTE=”Burticus, post: 22442, member: 297″]
    I also hate the forced updates. I wish it would go back to spaced out (and OPTIONAL) service packs for UI enhancements, and something resembling a regular schedule for security updates via windows update. Right now they just push updates whenever MS feels like it. Hate it. And their QA/testing has gone in the sh!tter the last couple years.
    [/QUOTE]

    So, I’m torn.

    I’ll be clear. I am a security patch extremist. I firmly believe everything should be patched for security as soon as a patch is available. Every second of delay leaves you vulnerable, and a breach is always much worse than a little downtime. I am completely unsympathetic to wanting to validate security patches before implementation.

    That said, there should be no reason feature patches should be forced on people.

    The problem becomes, as soon as you have many different versions of feature patches live in the field, you wind up with an unmanageable mess of different combinations and permutations in the field to patch for security.

    So as much as I am annoyed by this shit, I can understand why it happens.

  36. [QUOTE=”Grimlakin, post: 22403, member: 215″]
    I’m pretty sure you’re talking about 2012 server not 2016. But the point stands. I manage several hundred servers remotely so I get it.
    [/QUOTE]
    You’re right!

    Have too many of both…

  37. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 22458, member: 203″]
    I am completely unsympathetic to wanting to validate security patches before implementation.
    [/QUOTE]
    ‘Security’ is never the primary purpose of any system; any system that is ‘secure’ does nothing else.

    So it’s a balance of risk. I don’t have much sympathy for those affected due to not patching vulnerabilities either, but I get why there’s at least a process for it for enterprises.

    [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 22458, member: 203″]
    That said, there should be no reason feature patches should be forced on people.

    The problem becomes, as soon as you have many different versions of feature patches live in the field, you wind up with an unmanageable mess of different combinations and permutations in the field to patch for security.
    [/QUOTE]

    I don’t really get Microsoft’s single ‘feature/security’ patch process myself. I [I]absolutely[/I] get their reasoning for enforcing security patch updates, as that’s just plain necessary to get a handle on the spread of malware across the internet, but I agree that a security patch track could be completely separate from a feature upgrade track. I’d bet that Windows 10 would have been much more popular among holdouts if there’d been a ‘Windows 7’ feature-level option!

    [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 22398, member: 96″]
    This from Microsoft is a forced change on a system that otherwise would be perfectly stable, all in the name of .. I’m not really sure. They have been so inconsistent for so long with their UI Design, that in trying to unify it finally they have introduced even more disorder and chaos.

    I think the ultimate fix is that they need to just stop monkeying with the UI stuff… new UI = new release. Then people can migrate if/when they want to the new UI stuff. I know that goes against the new “Win104Ever” philosophy, but that’s how it was done prior to WIn10, and people could jump or skip releases as they saw fit.
    [/QUOTE]

    They’re doing it gradually, for better or worse, which I get. There’s not a good way to do that level of change, but as far as I have seen and experienced, the Settings app has itself at least been stable, and functionality hasn’t been removed from Control Panel without being added to Settings. I don’t like having to hunt for stuff of course, but since it [I]works[/I], I don’t have any complaints I’d consider legitimate. I do look forward to them finishing the transition though.

    And on a related note, I also hope that they’re keeping their internal code maintainable. They should be getting ready to port Explorer to the Linux kernel…

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