Microsoft has been dropping hints that it’s working on a revamped Start menu for Windows 10. But now, to celebrate Windows 10 hitting 1 billion users, Microsoft’s chief product officer Panos Panay dropped a super slick teaser for Windows 10's next UI refresh.
In the video posted to Instagram, Microsoft starts by showing the evolution of its OS throughout the years going as far back as Windows 1.01 all the way to Windows 10. However, where things start to get interesting is around 12 seconds in when Microsoft shows off a new set of updated icons followed by a redesigned look for Windows 10's Start Menu and Live Tiles.
Instead of a bunch of brightly color rectangles, Microsoft is implementing a more unified color scheme that can adjust automatically to match your desktop background and potentially other UI elements.
Additionally, Microsoft also showed off a wide variety of accessibility options including a range of pointers in various sizes and colors, what looks like improved support for the Xbox Adaptive Controller, a tease for a new built-in snipping tool, and more.
Then Microsoft capped everything off by showing light and dark themes for Windows 10 along with a bunch of windows resizing and snapping options, all designed to making multi-tasking just a bit faster and easier. Microsoft also made a point to mention support for both x86-based systems powered by chips from Intel and AMD and ARM-based systems like the Surface Pro X. That last one is a biggie. As Apple gets closer and closer to releasing an ARM-based MacBook (blurring the lines between its mobile and desktop products), it’s increasingly important for Microsoft to include full support for both platforms in future versions of Windows.
Overall, Windows 10's upcoming UI changes look really promising, offering a sleeker, more streamlined interface that’s more in line with Microsoft’s Fluent design language, which was first introduced back in 2017. One of the big complaints about Windows 10 right now is that its UI often seems disjointed, because depending on how deep you dive into menus, you get windows that almost look like they came straight out of Windows XP, while newer menus pack a much cleaner, more modern design.
Another important change is that it looks like Windows is de-emphasizing Live Tiles, which have been the bane of many Windows 10 users for quite a while. Live Tiles never really garnered a ton of third-party support, and while some of the built-in animations made sense for checking things like the weather, their hit-or-miss implementation tended to make the Windows 10 Start menu look somewhat cluttered. And with Microsoft having already shown off a version of Windows 10X that doesn’t have Live Tiles at all, there’s a good chance the software giant may ditch them entirely sometime in the future.