Are Windows 10 Control Panel's days numbered?

Settings Legacycontrolpanel
Settings Legacycontrolpanel (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Feature IDs make reference to hiding the about page in Control Panel.
  • The change isn't active in preview builds yet.

Ever since the Windows 8 days, Microsoft has had two settings apps built into Windows. A modern Settings app, and a legacy settings app known as Control Panel. Microsoft has been slowly working to replace the legacy Control Panel with the modern Settings app on Windows 10, but as Windows Control Panel has been part of the OS for decades, transferring all those settings to the new app takes a lot of time. It's been five years, and that process still isn't done.

With that said, the latest Windows Insider builds of Windows 10 have feature IDs that make reference to hiding another key Control Panel area: the About System page, and making sure other areas that link to it are also removed. These feature IDs are HideSystemControlPanel, SystemControlPanelFileExplorerRedirect, and SystemControlPanelHotkeyRedirect. All these feature IDs are disabled in the latest public builds, but they do exist, suggesting that Microsoft is testing it internally.

Microsoft is getting to the point where it thinks the most important Control Panel settings are now available in the modern Settings app, and that for most users, the legacy Control Panel is no longer necessary and therefore elements of it can be hidden from the user. Microsoft isn't outright removing the Control Panel from future versions of Windows 10, at least not yet, but it looks like it will be hiding more parts of it instead.

There are still some Control Panel settings that are yet to be ported to the modern Settings app, but the remaining settings are minor and likely used by very little people. For most users, the Control Panel is redundant with the latest versions of Windows 10.

This change won't come into effect until 21H1 at the earliest, meaning the upcoming Windows 10 Version 2004 release will still have the legacy About page unhidden by default. What are your thoughts on this possible change? Let us know in the comments.

Updated: Clarified that this change is related to a specific part of the Control Panel.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • Those feature IDs do not refer to the entirety of Control Panel but to the "system" Control Panel specifically, i.e. the one that appears with Win + Pause.
  • Good catch. Updated
  • I can never find what I'm looking for in modern settings. It sucks. As someone who's used control panel for about 30 years I will throw a fit if they remove control panel.
  • How can you not find settings? Just use the search bar on top and it will pull up any settings you're looking for if you don't know which segment of the settings app to find it in. Like most people, I was raised on legacy Windows (my first daily driver was Windows 3.1 actually), so I for one am glad that we are finally getting a more modern experience to replace the one from the 90's. The Settings app works better for most things anyway (though, since I'm the IT Administrator for a company, I still use Device Manager on a daily basis).
  • Maybe because I use control panel exclusively because I know it like the back of my hand and see it in my sleep, if you can't post a response with out being condescending please don't respond to me. I'll report you next time.
  • You need to drop the idea of the old control panel and look at the modern settings from a fresh perspective. Its different yeah, but definitely an improvement once you're used to it.
  • Until the settings you are trying to find aren't there and you have to go back to the OG Control Panel. Seems there are a lot new techies out there that think they know everything.
  • there are a lot of settings still missing or incomplete in the new settings. however there are new settings not available in the old control panel. once all the features are migrated, the old control panel can be removed.
  • No need to be condescending, I worked a lot with 98, XP, Vista and 7 back in the days and Win 7 was my favorite OS till Win 10. Anyway, it doesn't matter much if they are in the Control Panel or not since either the modern settings links to a specific setting or the search bar links to it (so you can completely ignore Control Panel itself). It is not perfect yet but it is also not really that big of an issue.
  • I always use Control panel for things like Device manager, folder options
  • More likely those won't get hidden. I think they are just hiding the Control Panel main window instead. Subsettings like those should be still accessible. I think they just want to hide it to avoid confusion between the two for casual users by default.
  • You can access Device Manager faster by right clicking the Windows Start menu icon; that gives a list of many useful shortcuts.
  • "...the remaining settings are minor and likely used by very little people." Lilliputians, mainly.
  • LOL, I was going to ask how tall does someone have to be to stop using the legacy Control Panel.
  • Maybe people who have used it for 30+ years go to what they know.
  • The remaining settings are dwarfed by the modern settings.
  • Not all and clearly not as easy to find as you suggest. I'm not the only one here trying to explain this! Starting to wonder if this site is ran by a bunch of 18 year olds.
  • I think it's fine that power user settings remain in the control panel. I don't get why some are obsessed with getting rid of it entirely.
  • I've been wondering what the Configuration Manager team would do about their applet in the Control Panel. I'm surprised they don't yet have an alternative.
  • Please kill it already. It's been YEARS.
  • Really hope we will get the new start menu in April.
  • I don't have a problem with Control Panel still being in Windows 10, it's hidden from everywhere unless you manually run control.exe so the only people going there will be people who need to go there for a reason. I use it mainly to get to the Power options, because the modern settings for Power are literally just the timers to set the screen or PC to sleep. So that's something they still haven't carried over. I also prefer the old Network and Sharing centre options in Control Panel to the modern settings, but other than that everything else I get to with WIN+X.
  • Honestly, at this point they *should* hide the legacy Control Panel. It is incomplete, missing features from the Settings app, and it creates confusion for users to have two different UIs. But I think people are reading too much into this. This does not mean you won't be able to access the advanced settings only available in the Control Panel. The detailed Control Panel applets needed for managing advanced features will still be accessible as links from pages in Settings, as they are today, and they will still be visible in search. I suspect this is about reducing clutter by eliminating a redundant entry point in the UI. The should be a win for regular Windows users, without impacting power users.
  • Yeah many seem overracting that they entirely remove Control Panel applets. Actually many of these things like Device Manager and Administrative Settings are not exactly the Control Panel itself. The Control Panel we know are basically the main navigation for all of the specific settings in Windows 10. Device Manager for example should be still accessible if you know its shortcut. Also remember there is still a links of these Control Panel applets in Settings apps instead.
  • "Microsoft has been slowly working to replace the legacy Control Panel". WOW. Slowly is an understatement. what is it? 8 years?
  • Yeah! CPanel should have gone with Windows 8. Have a lot of sympathy for Steve Sinofsky trying to get MS to move faster than a glacier 🤣
    CPanel, device mgr all that win32 legacy stuff should be UWP now. MS need to eat their own dev roadmap dog food.
  • It's amazing. I dumped decades of Apple for Windows 10. It's really not bad but I can't get over the stark differences. Steve Jobs would have NEVER let 10 out without a complete settings app and Control Panel completely gone. Microsoft? Their customers RESENT and DESPISE change. So everything takes years instead of hours. At least they're going in the right direction. I'm hoping for a new Windows Explorer by 2025.
  • Media streaming options are still a CP only feature. This desperately needs updating. Not only moving it to settings but improving its casting options / connections.
  • Really dumb decision since settings is absolutely crap. Another reason to stick with Windows 7 forever.
  • The only thing that’s crap is your comment. Luddites inhibit progress.
  • Explain how it is crap.
  • This is off topic.. I’ll tell you the feature from iPadOS that WCOS doesn’t have ... On iPad only on e app at a time has permission to use the speaker.....
    As soon as you press play in another app...the one that’s play pauses it’s audio...
    I can’t tell you how great that works... it should be a control panel option... You can have 5 different applications that play audio and switch between them simply by hitting the play button on each app... With windows you have to deal with more than one app playing at the same time potentially.... see there’s something that needs to be added to volume control panel menu.... only allow one app at a time to request speaker....verses all apps having permission to access the speaker at the same time...
  • This is not a feature of iOS, it’s a defect. I’ve always wanted the opposite. I want to be able to watch sports on an iPad (where you don’t need sound) while listening to music. Easy on Windows, as each app has it’s own volume control. But impossible on iOS. It’s one or the other, not both.
  • I'm okay with it - providing each and every item in Control Panel shows up under settings. If not, hell no.
  • The power plan options and editing a power plan need to be included in the modern settings. The control panel itself I don't care about, its outdated but the advanced settings in it are useful.
  • Exactly people don't seem to understand there are things that don't work the same or just don't have options in the new system settings. Search at times comes up empty if you don't know the new term they use for that setting.
  • This site is full of toxicity in the comments.
  • This site is full of misinformation. Bye Felicia.
  • The issue is that the new Settings app has a bad UI.They moved all default app settings to UWP, but it's missing some basic things, such as a "Set all as default" button in the set defaults by app section... so for apps that support hundreds of file types, it becomes a very tedious task, setting them one by one... Things like joining a domain are far more intuitive via CP than it is via UWP settings. Also why can't I open multiple instances of UWP settings? Things like that, annoy people especially IT admins.