Microsoft plans 'sweeping' design changes to show that Windows 'is back'

A Microsoft job posting suggests a major user interface update for Windows 10 is in the works.

ZDNet guides you through the maze of Windows 10 updates

A Microsoft job posting for a Windows software engineer backs up hints that the company is planning a major overall of the Windows interface that's expected to arrive in the second half of 2021. 

Windows Latest spotted the job posting this week, which was posted by Microsoft in October, around the time rumors of its major Sun Valley update for Windows 10 started circulating.      

The job description appears to support reports that the Windows 10 20H2 update will indeed be as major as reported with plans at Microsoft to tell the world that "Windows is BACK".    

"On this team, you'll work with our key platform, Surface, and OEM partners to orchestrate and deliver a sweeping visual rejuvenation of Windows experiences to signal to our customers that Windows is BACK and ensure that Windows is considered the best user OS experience for customers," Microsoft noted in a job listing published in October 2020.

SEE: Windows 10 Start menu hacks (TechRepublic Premium)    

Microsoft has since removed the exciting reference about telling customers that Windows is back, and now only states that the software engineer will help build "delightful, polished, experiences for Windows as well as for our Surface Hub product line."

As ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley has noted, Microsoft has a few major changes happening to Windows 10 development in the pipeline over the next two years. It might not release a Windows 10 21H1 feature update as it has in the spring of each year, and is also planning to release the first run of Windows 10X in 2021 for single-screen PCs.   

Windows Central reported at the time that the 21H2 Windows 10 feature update will be more dramatic than the usual feature update and will include a UI refresh across a number of Windows components and apps. 

The company had described Sun Valley in internal documents as "reinvigorating" and modernizing the Windows desktop experience. This would be a change from recent releases, which haven't brought major changes to the Windows 10 UI.

This UI refresh will reportedly include an overhaul to the Start Menu, Action Center and some in-box/bundled Microsoft apps, and they will be an optional change. 

SEE: Windows 10's open-source PowerToys: Video meeting mute tool hit by pandemic, says Microsoft

Foley believes that Sun Valley changes are likely to be incorporated into Windows 10X for single-screen devices that will be released by Spring 2022. 

Sun Valley is being headed up by Microsoft's Chief Product Officer Panos Panay who also took over as head of Windows Experience. Windows 10X initially was targeted to dual-screen devices, but in May Panay revealed Windows 10X was focussing on single-screen devices because of the pandemic and people's greater dependence on PCs.