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It’s official – Microsoft is killing Control Panel

We wondered some time ago and concluded that Microsoft might kill the Control Panel completely with future updates to Windows. Today, it became official. Microsoft wants you to learn the new Settings app and forget about other PC management tools.

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windows 10 build 10537 control panelGabriel Aul, who is Vice President, WDG Engineering Systems at Microsoft and the spokesperson for the Windows Insiders program, confirmed today that the classic Control Panel is about to die in the future:

This is bad news for all users who prefer to use the classic Control Panel and avoid using the Settings app. Personally, I find the classic Control Panel app faster, more advanced, more suitable for mouse and keyboard usability, and better organized than the Settings app. The Settings app is slower and requires more clicks or keystrokes to change anything because it is organized into categories and pages. It also requires more scrolling because of the touch-friendly design and many of the settings are simplified, so some advanced settings are eliminated. The Metro controls used in the Settings app are not at all friendly for mouse or keyboard usage and even the colors are depressing. The Settings app was acceptable for touch devices, but for classic keyboard+mouse users, it is a disaster.

Also, it is a very dubious statement that having the classic Control Panel will cause additional disk or memory usage. User interfaces do not occupy disk space or tax resources, the underlying code and the components determine the resource usage. It is not clear how/why this controversial statement was made. The classic Control Panel mostly requires a number of ActiveX components (and their Class IDs) to be registered in the Registry, but those components are not running until you open the appropriate Control Panel applet. So it is unrelated to system resource usage.

The next major update to Windows 10, Threshold 2, is expected in November 2015. The next build for Windows Insiders might be build 10559. It is not clear when exactly the Control Panel will be removed from Windows 10 but we do know that the new Start Menu already does not have any link to open it. Microsoft is making the Settings app so simplified that it is quite possible that advanced settings which the Control Panel carries will no longer be available in the UI of the Settings app. What happened to "Personalizaton" is a good example of such a change in Windows 10 RTM.

windows 10 10074 personalization classic

What do you think about this change in Windows 10? Will you be happy with the Settings app only?

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

34 thoughts on “It’s official – Microsoft is killing Control Panel”

  1. Kiss personalization goodbye. Settings still isnt ready to take over job as control panel, because it freezes sometimes.

  2. Just terrible, there are tons of things I can’t do with the Settings app or at least haven’t found, a few examples are:
    -Show/Hide hidden files
    -Manage installed programs
    -Generally any of the Advanced System Settings like Environment handles, System Protection, Remote, Startup and Recovery settings, advanced Performance settings
    -Proper Power options
    -Administrative tools folder
    -Any meaningful network configurations, specifically NIC configurations like enable/disable IPv4/6, change DNS settings etc
    -Properly manage sound settings and devices

    And I’m sure there’s much much much more, those are just from the top of my head the ones I use regularly, in the build I’m currently running none of the above are available properly in the Settings app.

  3. I was disappointed when 8.1 didn’t reintegrate the TIFKAM PC Settings into the Control Panel. Now it looks as if they want users to relearn what they’ve got used to over a decade or more, or simply dumb down. Cortana Candy Crush, nuff said. What is the benefit? Looks like Microsoft is destroying Windows.

  4. Goodbye GODMODE!!!!…. Where is bill gates when you need to spank the asses of his mindless workers that desktop is for desktop & mobile/phablet/tablet is for touch. Unless these current idiots do the right thing and not even forcefully botching up/ruining their own products eg Win7 w/c is considered the last pure desktop os. Some big/small companies/users are gonna lose their trust and might look/move to other os’s in time. Even were I work we are slowly transcending to Linux based os(training & picking programs for work use) just enough till EoL of Win7 2020, where probably more than 60-70% will be in Linux by that tiime.

  5. I think this will be an ongoing migration for some considerable time yet.
    I also think it’s a bigger job than they thought it would be! Aul seemed careful not to say anything other than, it’s an aspiration to move to one place for settings.

  6. A Senior Program Manager on the Windows team says: “Haven’t had to use Control Panel in months.”!!!! o_0 (https://twitter.com/brandonleblanc/status/650519136196366338) It is at times like these when you know Microsoft has gone bonkers and have no hope of returning to sanity.

  7. Sergey, as usual, I completely agree with you. In fairness, they intend to eventually eliminate Control Panel, presumably only after adding functionality it currently lacks but I’m sure we will lose a great deal. Aul’s willingness to talk nonsense to justify another bad decision just shows the contempt that Microsoft has for their customers. One UI for desktop and tablets with some minor accommodation for the differences is insane, yet they are proudly forging ahead, full of confidence and completely free of any doubt or self reflection. It’s like mass hypnosis. What a sad mess.

  8. Just invoke GodMode on your desktop!!

    Create new folder and name it:

    GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

    now you’ll have ALL SETTINGS in one place, beats the Controlpanel IMHO …

  9. Gabe gas surely not the poweruser-friendly vision but control panel wasn’t exactly the only/best way to set up Windows in XP, 7 or 8 anyway – evolution of Windows means evolution of the poweruser too. Some functions can be replaced with streamline 3rd party and community tools. the rest of the settings will still be “Registry Editor”-bound. (that was my attempt at positive thinking therapy)

    1. i believe new Settings support shortcuts already, at least i have Default apps shortcut for Settings in my Start menu

      1. Massive customization being required for an OS deliberately designed to be miserable to use and hard to change in almost any way just doesn’t seem like a satisfying use of time. It was fun to make earlier versions nicer but at this point it feels more like whack-a mole, replacing everything that’s taken away. Is Cortana enough to justify using this mess? Now that they’ve killed off Master Chief, she should be able to focus completely on full time data gathering from Windows users! :P

        1. I don’t know why you say Windows 10 is deliberately designed to be miserable to use. That just doesn’t make any sense at all. Windows 10 is very easy to use, highly customizable, and very efficient.

  10. I‘ve never been fond of newly introduced Settings app. Although I love testing out new features and learn to do daily tasks in new ways time-consuming updates can‘t be considered upgrades.

  11. Zounds! I sure hope this doesn’t really mean that the underlying code for the control panel applets will be removed from Win10 and its successors. As long as we can still figure out a way to get to the pieces, I’m OK with losing the Control Panel itself. But should they do away with those items, MS will be hard-pressed to replace all of them in any kind of useful way with Settings alone. I’m with you Sergey! Put me down for a contribution to your efforts should a “replacement Control Panel” prove necessary.
    –Ed–

    1. Okay :)
      Well, it is not a big deal to re-implemented the Control panel app until applets are available.
      Once applets will be removed, it can become a nightmare to re-implement all of them.

  12. Add/remove programs

    1) In CP, can show all of the names, in one screen. Or with details, can show file location, last used, etc..

    2) In the settings box, name, creator, size (maybe), a date (without saying what the date represents), all in in LARGE letters in a long scroll down windows. POS.

  13. Already the new Win 10 standard look shows MS is going to kiss individualization goodbye — grey taskbar, grey buttons, no differentiation between active and inactive windows unless you activate the hidden lite theme, all theme patchers existing so far not working (try opening the hidden apps arrow in the try after restart and you see what I mean), even changing backgrounds with Aero Lite theme requires manual editing of the *.theme file etc. pp.

    Also when listening to a webinar with an MS official he stated that ‘probably the control panel will be replaced by the settings app somewhere in the future’.

    And yes, right now per my experience the settings apps are slow, sometimes in situations of great stress don’t even start.

    As well as I can see that keeping and maintaining two approaches to one end is kind of clumsy, right now it only is driving towards third party tools that enhance the optics and tweaking of Win 10.

    Thus: One management solution – okay. But @MS: See to it is fast and stable — and unconditionally add a switch to enable ‘pro features’ at least for desktop computers driven by mouse and keyboard. And — PLEASE! — do something about the absolutely boring look of the windows. Win 7 was great with reference to this topic; even XP had a better optics than what Win 10 offers today.

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