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Microsoft to replace the traditional Control Panel with the Windows 10 Settings app

Windows 10 (as well as Windows 8) provides users with two ways to access settings, the traditional Control Panel with access to various functions and tools, as well as the new Modern UI Settings app. The former is the more advanced option, but Microsoft is moving away from the familiar Control Panel in favor of the Settings app.

According to Microsoft's Gabriel Aul, the company plans to replace the Control Panel with the Settings app "in time", slowly migrating across the numerous tools.

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Unfortunately, should you be a fan of the Control Panel after all these years, the Settings app will become the new portal to manage your Windows PC. It isn't known just how long it will take Microsoft to make the Control Panel entirely redundant. Have you grown attached to the Control Panel, or are you backing said change?

Via: WinBeta

Rich Edmonds
Rich Edmonds

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

167 Comments
  • Memories..
  • the settings app are not even complete yet, most of the settings are minimal... i like control panel, you can change whatever you like
  • I've just used the start menu - begin trying what you're looking for and it all comes up.
  • It's still just in its early version. Surely MS will add more in time.
  • They should keep the name Control Panel. https://windows.uservoice.com/forums/265757-windows-feature-suggestions/suggestions/9108244-merge-settings-with-control-panel-but-keep-the-na
  • Memories indeed.
  • but he said "in time". it needs to happen today, its one of the single most infuriating things about Windows 8 they didn't get right, and stil haven't sorted out in the Win 10 preview. Just get the f*** on with it MS. This is the sort of sh*t that makes people stroke their iPad and point at Windows. They absolutely need to speed up, get this done. Get a Desktop free "pure" version of Windows for tablet with Touch Office. Now, not soon. They so utterly need a slap on this. I really like Microsoft, I love my WIndows Phone, I defend MS often as they are a mature company to deal on a business level. But this sloooooww burn on Windows needs to end, they are sooo close to greatness all the time but always seem to be just be 15% from being finished. Seems like with todays news they are speeding up a bit and summer is the new release date, but please for the love of God get it finished, no more control panel. WHen I want to change "domain" it should be easy to find, not buried!!! Agggh.. sorry I feel better now :)
  • Totally agree, it's a disaster to find things or to switch back and forth. Especially for sys admins and help desk support it's a nightmare 
  • Makes sense.
  • Wowo, these hours are flood of interesting news.
  • Happy hours :)
  • Goodbye IE and Control Panel. Good move MS❗
  • I concur.
  • Bye.
  • I'm all in favor, but I'm not sure it's a good move. The same enormous bloc of people who snubbed their noses at Windows 8 will do the same to Windows 10 if you take away their precious Control Panel, especially administrators and IT guys. This may not go over very well at all.
  • I agree but in my experience of the large corporations they keep the older systems running anyway. They will stay with control panel like people stay with XP lol.
  • As long as we can do EVERYTHING we can do with the control panel thorugh the app, then i think it's fine and welcomed!
  • I'm a IT professional, and this is dispointing, as I dont feel there is anything wrong with teh current layout, it's simple, it works and everything is there. Maybe they make it better, I will wait and see.  If they screw it up (things harder or more clicks to access), then it's a problem.
  • I think the sensible and intelligent answer is wait and see, as you say. .... As a consumer/simple business user I find type what you need from the start screen and pin to start enough to find what I want. IT professionals may require more. I'm hoping with the current feedback from Technical Preview they will get it right.
  • I'm an IT professional and I haven't touched control panel since PowerShell v4. I really don't care what clicky UI exists for normal users.
  • Exactly. I actually don't want ms to make getting to settings any easier. Makes my job less stressful.
  • IT guy here... I don't like this news.
  • I agree whole heartedly, out with old and in with the new. This should have happened in 8 but its never too late.
  • Yep Windows 8 was a Frankenstein hybrid, but I preffered the new side vs the old side of things. Just keep all the functionality of the old with a new modern face
  • So Microsoft computers are modern design? I think the desktop side for system programs must be modern.. Modern controls are start with the SDK controls.
  • Bye, bye control panel. I'm all for a unified experience
  • Agreed
  • Im glad on this. Having two was not the way to go. Just one option will be nice for settings
  • Good
  • Yeh...a massive one
  • I back this idea!
  • Should be an option. Not a good thing for all the PC professionals out their. We will all get used to it, I don't have much of a problem with it. But people will whine. But I guess there's no avoiding that
  • Yeah.  The enterprise environment isn't going to be very happy about the change.  And there will be a lot of legacy workers out there that want their control panel.
  • i am with you there, esp company administrators
  • If your Admins aren't using Powershell for administration, you need new administrators.
  • Some people prefer a GUI. Is that so wrong?
  • In an enterprise situation, yes. The wasted productivity of repetitive clicks just to access the settings you want to change is horribly inefficient when you're managing more than a handful of devices.
  • It's still a control panel just under a different name and with a different layout. It's not like they're removing functionality.
  • The words stand back and watch spring to mind....
  • Change is good...Keeps us awake
  • And our phones fresh.
  • And our PCs alive
  • if MS includes all the settings who are currently in the control panel it would be a mess. they have to build in a toggle to switch between "user" and "expert" mode. in "user" mode you would see only the most used settings. in "expert" mode you can change settings like manually installing drivers, etc.
  • This^
  • They actually have something similar now in control panel. When you first open it, it only gives basic items. You have to "show all items" to see everything.
  • Good idea.
  • Beat me to it! This way you don't get newbs messing up their computer or jumping at the sight of every UAC prompt.... I so could do without those calls lol.
  • if you are really an expert, you should be using the search function to lauch the setting you need. it's gunny that these so called experts should be able to adapt to change the essiest yet they are the ones who whine the most. i've also noticed real professionals use the command prompt or run to launch many settings apps.
  • Some of us do forget the names of things and hunt through menus in Control Panel to refresh our memories. Not all of us do "expert" settings changes on a regular basis. I occasionally hunt through Control Panel to find what I need, and will be quite annoyed if it becomes more diffficult to locate those things that I need. Searching sometimes works, but half the time I resort to hunting through Control Panel.
  • There's always God Mode... GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}  
  • Finally
  • I'd have no problem as long as they give the fine details you can now get in the control panel. Right now settings app is like the candy coating.
  • Over the years, since XP the Control Panel hasn't received much of a UI Change at all. It's good to see a change finally.
  • Agreed.
     
  • WIndows 95... Take a look that was the first MS OS with that basic layout.
  • Great.
  • Woohoo, need the change
  • How about the settings that Nvidia puts to the control panel?
  • "streaming services" eat up all your ram too?
  • OEMs can add settings to the WP settings app so it could be the same here.
  • Thank god! Easily the most confusing part of windows 10!
  • Come on! Well as long as they change nothing but UI
  • I just hope we don't lose control/functionality. With 8.1 I still sometimes end up in Control panel. E.g., a System Restore that I had to use yesterday (saving my life) wasn't there in the Backup/Recovery of the new settings.
  • Hope it looks slick!
  • As long as it's not half baked
  • It's good, even if they manage to move all the settings to the new app, I'm sure there are still something left, or people simply don't like the change. Would be nice if the Control Panel become 'Advanced Control Panel' which doesn't easily accessible and can only be run by calling its precise name, just like you can't search for Registry Editor but you have to search regedit.
  • Happy days! This should make the user experience across all Microsoft Windows 10 devices better. Xbox next? Presto!
  • So will we finally have a decent way to edit environment variables?
  • I just saw it. It's good. And I want to know why Microsoft is upgrading windows pirated versions to genuine? I am happy but at the same time I am sad.
  • Because they want the market share. More users = more app purchases = more developers = more users.
  • Truuuue!! Why didn't I think of that?? Lmfao
  • Govt probably has some highly improved monitoring systems built into as well.
  • I wish that Cortana will be integrated with the new setting pannel.
  • Goooodd!
  • As long as the same tools are there, I could care less. I run task manager all the time to monitor performance.
  • I will miss the familiarity, but just as long as it has the same functionality or more its all good. Seriously though, it had better.
  • The categorical view in control panel was the worst thing ever. I always keep it to 'Show all control panel items' because I could never remember where to find required settings. I hope the new settings app is not so condensed.
  • Good move Microsoft. Satya's MS is becoming a great company.
  • Sounds unlikely, but hope control panel completely replaced by RTM.
  • I hope its gone by the time windows 10 has launched!
  • Settings needs a MAJOR leap forward for this to be a step in the right direction. Its SO slow and clunky now.
  • Everyone says they want change, but when it happens they continually complain about it. It happens all the time.
  • Finally only one central place for settings, great move!
  • I am all behind this move. I really like the settings app and was hoping that Microsoft would make this move. I think provided a feedback suggestion for this move i the Windows Insider Program. All I need to know is the shotcut tot he Settings App.
  • that was expected two control panels doesn't make any sense but before doing so they need to make setting app looks better and easier
  • In time? Hopefully he means by the time w10 launches. Sound like it would be more confusing for users to remove it later
  • I am no fan of Control Panel, but it is often the only way for users to access hardware settings for 3rd party drivers and associated software.  I do not expect them to update that software to work natively with the win10 setting app, so are we going to get something to replace CP for current gen machines?
  • hence the "in time" part of the statement. control panel will still exist will the settings are slowly transitioned. we've seen the windows users aren't capable of adapting quickly. So, microsoft has to move slowly and do what the always have done. they have always had an option for traditional biew for the control panel and start menu. eventually, people stop switching to traditional view and microsoft can get rid of it.
  • Should have been done in 8.0
  • Good. Opening settings and control panel after learning settings only allows minimal tweaks is getting old.
  • This will be like the start menu. People will have breakdowns over it and claim Windows 10 ruined everything in the universe.
  • It is about time for all classic interfaces to die. The control panel is one of the most disorganized interfaces in all of computing. So many different bits of information scattered among several different sub-menu systems. This is where cortana can really shine, the user should be able to ask "How do i set the background image" and cortana can literally talk them through the process. Settings can be sorted by keywords and re-arranged intuitively based on the expected needs of what the user is attempting to accomplish. Static icon based navigation can be left to Android and iOS.
  • Only acceptable if they change the visuals of the settings app otherwise it will just be a mess. I'd rather see the settings app disappear. But they keep fixing what ain't broken... Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • First make the settings app more advanced...
  • They should better make the WP All Settings App as Control  Panel...it will feel like using PC...they are making it more like Android day by day.  
  • If they are dumbing it down only taking away vital settings (like, which updates do and which dont as an example ) then I'm against it
  • I agree. This lack of selecting which updates to do is totally ridiculous, the auto installed NVIDIA driver broke everything for me so now I have been forced to disable updates altogether.
  • I want this new move, it'll be easier for new users.
  • I have no objections, so long as they fully import all the settings. My only complaint with the current Modern implementation is that it's missing most of the deeper settings from the Control Panel.
  • Agree 100%
  • Nobody was expecting this.... /irony
  • I'm 100% behind this but ummmmmmm this was the same move done with the start menu and we all know what happened with that
  • They eliminated the start button completely back then but this time they're just changing the name and theme and a few other things.
  • As long as God Mode continues to work, I don't mind the changes.
  • YEAH!
  • Still like the old design if I wanted what their offering id use god mode
  • Actually, that's reason I like Linux. You can change everything about the system. Windows way was harsh enough for me even with control panel. Settings will be even more user-friendly, which means, if you're an IT expert - you should face a lot of challenges in making it work as expected. Missing static IP setting on phone is an exemplar of such idiocy made out of a good purpose of simplification.
  • I can't believe Microsoft are making this mistake *again* <facepalm>. Don't they remember the furore when they took the start menu away? There will be literally millions of people who prefer the Control Panel, and for those people who are upgrading straight from Windows 7, losing the Control Panel as they're used to will be a massive problem. I thought they were making W10 clever, so that it knew the nature of the device it is running on? On a desktop machine, with mouse and keyboard, it should operate as much like W7 as possible.
  • The millions of people prefering the old control panel? Are you for real? Most people find the old one cluttered and useless if you don't know what you are doing. To simplify that menu is a step in the right direction for most people. 
  • Agreed. This is nothing like the Start Menu being deleted.
  • "useless if you don't know what you are doing". But millions of people *do* know what they're doing, just like they did with the Start Menu. It's been there for what, 20 years? You say that they will "simplify that menu", but they have to remember that millions of people know and like their old way of doing things. Sure, maybe someone who has never seen Windows before, will find the new settings app easier (and that in itself is debatable), but someone who already knows Control Panel will of course find Control Panel to be much easier than Settings. Removing that is just making W10 harder for W7 people to get to grips with, for no real purpose. People will miss it and they will be very vocal about it. This is a mistake and like I say, it's not like they've not made this mistake already, before. Don't they learn?
  • If they truly integrate all the functionality of Control Panel into the Settings app, then this will be awesome. I know some people are attached to the control panel but if everything is there, then they shouldn't have anything to bitch about. IMO, It will be more organized this way and more visual rather than menu buried under menu buried under menu.
  • Oh yes!
  • If it looks different... They will bitch and bitch LOUD.
  • Quite often, if there's something from the CP that I have to keep doing (such as uninstalling apps or having to check devices a lot), I'll make a shortcut to that part of the Control Panel on the desktop. I'll lose that ability without the CP and that'll piss me off. It'll probably piss off a lot of sysadmins too.
  • But but but...."they aren't really listening." Yet another feature that MSFT is implementing that was highly requested.
  • I don't really know what to think about this. I love Win10 so far, but man, we've been using CP for a long time. It does look simpler.
  • good move
  • The control panel offers a lot more flexibility than the windows 8 pc settings menu. So long as they retain the functionality is the old system within the new system I have no problems. But don't take away from what I could do previously.
  • Also the control panel is laid out so much simpler. Keep it simple Microsoft.
  • Now that you can run apps in a window I don't see any problems with that
  • I wonder how legacy third-party CPL applets will work. Or maybe they'll just cut them off and not allow third party to add to settings anymore. That's what I'd like to see.
  • Gosh they should change those windows 7 icons they realy dont go along with windouws 10 UI
  • This is going to really suck unless we can keep the same functionality somehow.
  • Cue the whinning and bellyaching from the windows-7-was-perfect-leave-it-alone crowd...
  • +XP
  • I can see the hell... Wait and you'll see. Imagine changing the environment variables in a WPF app.
  • This is going to be the Start menu all over again.
  • Oh oh.... People aren't going to like that! The masses want it to be Windows 7 and will not tolerate changes, updates, modernization our any other form of improvement!
  • I think control panel is more better and popular with the traditional methods.
  • Agreed but, we should wait and see what they come up with, I do hope you can change it back via registry key or something..
  • Regedit method is for the pro people. Common people will not be comfortable
  • Common people may not have the meaning you think in English? Do you mean the general public as opposed to IT professionals. Perhaps general public or consumers may match your meaning more appropriately??
  • I've seen many people who don't have any idea about how to install a simple driver software. So editing registry key is not their cup of tea
  • Common people don't like modern updates very much
  • I think there should be an option for the control panel as well as start menu. Or better to run the whole OS in different environment modes as options like business, office, home, pro where all the things will be set according to the modes.
  • Have been using Control Panel like forever in XP and 7 but I'm now using Settings app more and more in W8/8.1 - and actually liking it.
  • My question is: "Is this new Settings Panel extensible like the original?"
  • I hope not.
  • Another change, like WIndows 8 was to Windows 7. The layout of the control panel has been the same from Windows 95. It's simple and it works. Not sure they NEED to change this (maybe pep it up a little) but, I hope they dont screw it up.. Not sure how much of this they are going to complete, They are talking a Summer release, and with all these little projects, I am sure it will be delayed OR Rushed out the door (Do we remember what happend with Vista because it was rushed out the door?)
  • "Settings" need to be the future so it will have a consistent interface with all the different device forms, but it needs to do everything that Control Panel does. It can be confusing having both places right now. I think they are going in the right direction, but it needs to be done by the time Windows 10 is RTM.
  • Was one of the suggestions I made one the feedback page. As long as all the functionality is there having all the settings and control functions in one place makes sense. It was a royal pain to have to hunt around to find which place had the function you were looking for, and a number if them were redundant.
  • If it's not ready at launch I see the "old" control panel staying there long term.  You can't just have it there and disappear after the new one is ready. 
  • Not sure what i like, mostly search for what i want. But the new looks cleaner. I guess what I like the most is that there will be only one...
  • The Metro Settings app needs to be as fully functional and searchable as Control Panel.  Everything needs to be there and be easy to find.  Then, we can judge the success.
  • Umm, it is? Have you seen the tech preview?
  • I want File explorer to be renamed to just "Files" and a modern app for it with a Blue file icon not yellow, I just wish.
  • The new settings app is way better than the control panel. Some people that I know of are actually scared of going into the control panel for its too complicated for them.
  • Finally!!!!
  • oh it looks like that we are changing....Microsoft is changing.... Is that good? We will miss that :( But if the whole UI changes, I agree.....
  • Noooooo.. I hate the new settings please... Leave the control panel... Then everything in control panel had better be in the new settings.. Daamnn.
  • ah crap! I better get used to the change
  • Will depend on how easy it will be to find everything, I am for having all settings in one place! Using search to locate settings has been pretty good so far in Win10
  • Settings sections need to be sorted alphabetically (nightmare on Windows Phone), ideally with an option for user to pin those they use most at the top.
  • Oh no. Thats disappointing :/
  • This is a good thing. This is exactly what SHOULD have happened with the Start Menu in 8 as well. The default OOBE is the start menu and "metro" Settings app... but if you're a power user, it doesn't take long to realize there's a God Mode that gives you everything back from "legacy" Control Panel plus more by using God mode: new folder, name it GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C} and hit enter. Done. Super Control Panel, while still retaining Metro Settings app for the other 99.5% of the world. Some sort of tweak like this to get a start button/menu/Classic Shell type of environment back in Windows 8 would have avoided all this hand-wringing for the last few years.  
  • The day the control panel in general and the administrative tools in particular are forced moved to a touch based metro app I'm giving away my Surfaces to family and friends, and going full Linux on both laptops and desktops. Ffs. The day Microsoft moves the logs to an app, or forces me to use the settings app to partition drives and manage services and processes I fucking give up.
  • Sorry if others have already answered this but... If the new app will do everything the control panel will do now, why change it to an app? Easier updating? Does the app/API model apply and if so how is it better than the current one?
  • This can be a deal breaker for me. I love windows 8.1 but if you can't access important settings, especially administrative tools and power options, then it's a no go. Also it is important to me to be able to turn off automatic updates completely and hide certain updates, especially LDA. I update manually once a month, don't want no filthy new hardware drivers if it isn't necessary.
  • We should have a choice keep bitg
  • No!!!!!
  • This was one of the points that lead to the fail of Windows 8/8.1. Should have be done when they released Windows 8.
  • Settings app is pretty bad at the moment. I prefer the control panel.
  • Don't understand why more effort wasn't put into getting this done in Windows 8 or 8.1...?
  • Even then, I would still like the customisation from Windows 7 and prior; in those OSes, you can change the interface font, window font and so on... There's a lot of deep personalisation.
  • time to get used to registry edits... yay progress
  • I am a fan of the Win 10 Settings UI.  Win 8 not so much, so I get why Control Panel had to stay in Win 8.  But I don't get the mass-whining over this.  Leaving Control Panel in Win 10 is like renovating the Brady Bunch house but leaving the original oven just because you like the way the clock looks. Personally, I hope they make all settings searchable with Cortana.  "Cortana, turn off remote desktop access to my PC."  And if you don't have sufficient permissions to change that setting then Cortana should respond with "I'm sorry, Dave.  I'm afraid I can't do that."