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Windows 10 update will bring long-awaited UI overhaul (report)

Windows 10
(Image credit: Microsoft/Facebook)

Microsoft recently started rolling out the October 2020 update, which brings several improvements to the Windows 10 UI. However, the company has only started its makeover of the operating system. 

Microsoft is readying a major Windows 10 update, codenamed Sun Valley, in 2021 that will bring substantial changes to the Windows UI, according to a Windows Central report. The most important elements of the OS, the Start Menu, Action Center and File Explorer, will all be modernized with better animations and new features. 

The project will apparently launch as part of the Windows 10 Cobalt release planned for holiday 2021, so we're about 12 months away. Internal documents obtained by Windows Central describe the UI overhaul as "reinvigorating" the Windows 10 desktop experience. Microsoft is supposedly "reinvesting" in Windows 10 next year, and Sun Valley is a result of the renewed attention the OS will receive. 

Microsoft tweaks Windows 10 every few months with a new feature or slight change to the design, but the major renovation we've been anticipating has yet to arrive. The software giant's quest to bring the beautiful Fluent design language to the desktop OS has been a slow one. It wasn't until last week that the Start Menu tiles were given a partially transparent background and a uniform color scheme.

Windows 10 Sun Valley 2021 update

The forthcoming Windows 10 update will adopt certain elements from the indefinitely-delayed Windows 10X. The Start Menu and Action Center will likely mirror the Windows 10X versions while the Taskbar and File Explorer will be rebuilt from the ground up. 

What this update ultimately focuses on is revamping outdated legacy UI found throughout the deepest corners of Windows 10. To that end, dark mode will be expanded to more legacy elements so the Windows UI looks more cohesive. The Sun Valley update will also bring a more fluid experience to tablets. 

While Sun Valley is poised to be the biggest update to Windows 10 since its launch, it will not be a completely new operating system. Windows 10 will look familiar after the changes are made, and users will even be given the choice between the old and new UI for certain elements. 

Microsoft wants most of the work for Sun Valley to be completed by June 2021 for the changes to roll out by the end of the year. Of course, these dates are fluid given the uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the workforce going into the new year.