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March 29, 2020

UWP App Icons Join Fluent Design Line-up (Build 19569)


When MS released the latest Fast Ring build yesterday, the release notes included a section entitled “Evolving the Windows 10 icons.” Seems that the Microsoft Design team also published a blog post around the same time. It’s entitled “Iconic Icons: Designing the World of Windows,” and goes into more detail about what drove the design effort, and what’s going on. Better yet, it includes the graphic that heads up this story, which lays out all the new app icons in a rectangular grid.

As I looked it over, I found myself trying to identify the apps represented therein. I was able to identify something in the range of 2 out of 3. Poking around on Twitter this morning, I found a post from @Albacore (the guy who programmed the excellent Comet/Managed Disk Cleanup tool; I blogged about this for Windows Enterprise Desktop last year). It identifies all but two of those icons, so I reproduce that very helpful graphic next (be sure to click to view full-sized).

Albacore’s version is annotated with only two unidentified items, so it is MUCH more informative.
[Click image for full-sized view, so you can actually SEE the icons.]

When I first read about this topic early this morning, I went looking for an icon extraction tool. Turns out that laying hold of UWP icons is a bit trickier than icons for regular Windows applications. Even NirSoft’s usually helpful Icons Extract tool isn’t really up to the task. As it turns out, that’s because the way that (and subfolder where) UWP apps store icons is different from regular applications. That’s why I was relieved to find the MS design post at first, and then even more so to find @Albacore’s annotated version.

I like the new, more colorful icons. I do think they are easier to identify and pick out of menus (and tables, as above). And they do add a little more visual appeal to the Windows 10 Start menu, UI, and desktop. Good job, MS!

Author: Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.

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