Microsoft may hide the Control Panel in Windows 10

Microsoft building in California

If you've used any version of Window before Windows 10, you'll definitely be familiar with the Control Panel. It's still present in Windows 10, but with various updates to the operating system Microsoft has been gradually encouraging people to use only the Settings app.

With just about every update to Windows 10, the prominence of the Control Panel has been reduced to the point that it's a bit of a chore to get to. According to references found in Windows 10 insider Build 19587, Microsoft could be on the verge of hiding or removing the Control Panel completely, or at least elements of it.

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Mentions of feature IDs were unearthed by Rafael Rivera, a Microsoft MVP and reverse engineer. Using a self-written tool called Mach2, he found references to HideSystemControlPanel, SystemControlPanelFileExplorerRedirect, and SystemControlPanelHotkeyRedirect.

Rivera tweeted about his discovery recently:

While none of these feature IDs or settings are enabled in build 19587 of Windows 10, their existence strongly suggests that something is on the horizon.

Microsoft has long-wanted people to forget that the Control Panel exists and fully embrace Settings. Five years after the launch of Windows 10, the company appears to be about to turn the thumbscrews a little by hiding the System Control Panel -- and it's possible that others will follow.

But whatever happens, we're unlikely to see any changes to the public release version of Windows 10 until the end of the year or the beginning of 2021.

Image credit: Walter Cicchetti / Shutterstock

32 Responses to Microsoft may hide the Control Panel in Windows 10

  1. baggman744 says:

    Thus would SUCK! The CP is still extremely useful and efficient.

  2. psycros says:

    Unless they plan on finally adding all those functions to settings hiding the Control Panel would make no sense. However, if their plan is to simply remove a lot of important configuration options then the insanity at Microsoft will have reached a new high. In any case, Settings is an ugly touch UI crammed into a desktop OS. The industry needs to stop trying make touch-on-PC happen - nobody wants it because it makes no sense.

  3. TechFan says:

    Setting have improved drastically.
    However, I do like the older printer/devices, and the older Uninstall Programs, but really, it works in settings, I just like the look of the old way.

    Plus, removing the controls panels interface, doesn't mean getting rid of old control panels themselves. For example, I open settings an search for Credential Manager, the the control panel still comes up. So al things really just got to settings to get what you want.

    • gawd21 says:

      Yeah right! The Settings is horrible! Takes forever to do anything, doesn't even have half the functionality, and is an ugly useless idea!

  4. cyberguy says:

    They will have to remove Control Panel from my cold dead hands.

  5. gawd21 says:

    That would piss me off more than just about anything else they have done!

  6. The "Settings App" still crashes from time to time and is a bit sluggish on some pages on some machines. I still go to the control panel or directly to the control panel "applets" for many things.

    Microsoft needs to speed up the Settings App and debug those crashes. They could also incorporate some basic features like typing the first couple characters of an item in a list to jump directly to that item. Manually scrolling down a list of file extensions or somesuch is a giant step backwards.

    Anyone got a complete list of the Control Panel applets handy?

  7. MJ says:

    One more reason for my Windows 10 machines to be on LTSB/C, MS does not play around with adding or removing things as they see fit on those versions.

    • TechFan says:

      Yes - who likes progression, evolution of software....

      • MJ says:

        SaaS is not progress, it’s indefinitely feeding your customers unfinished beta software. I need our machines to always work without an update breaking something or interrupting work flow. MS still does not understand this, MS also thinks that the hardware that runs their software is theirs to do what they want with. To ensure that our machines continue perform exactly as they did when the image was installed I chose to use LTSB and LTSC. It that for everyone? No, but we all have different needs and since we get security updates for 10 years per build vs 18 months on CB/CBB I am confident I made the correct decision.

      • TechFan says:

        "indefinitely feeding your customers unfinished beta software."
        ....but people like this...Android 1.0 to ....well close today.
        I say people like it, as it's like 85% of the world market.

        MS understands a lot, and their success is having their desktop OS consistent, with some options to customize, and allowing 3rd party tools for ...well pretty much much anything. I just don't think they are interested in that .0002% home user that doesn't want free new features, and functions (with lots of control on pushing updates out), and of course companies have a lot of control.

      • MJ says:

        The CBB enterprise is also on 18 month life cycles per build so its not just home users. Sure I prefer to use it (LTSB/C) at home but we also deployed it at work on desktops/laptops & tablets. We don't have ANY of the issues that are brought up each & every time a new build or feature is released. Yes, I am aware that not everyone experiences the same issues & some claim to have never had issues. Its just not something I need or want to take a chance on. IMO stability will ALWAYS win. Again, its not for everyone but it should be a choice for everyone.

      • TechFan says:

        The bad news, new code...always have some things to fix, which is why there is version 1, 1.2, 1.3
        Of course...things generally get smoother with each version (of course you know this).

        And we would all agree that Stability is better - which is why MS lets you defer major updates (feature changes) and still get security (or defer those). You just defer it until those new features are 1.2 or 1.3+. IMO

      • MJ says:

        I agree with what you just wrote, after all that is life with MS & SaaS (CB/CBB). However the LTSB/C versions have to be stable as their original intent was mission critical devices. Even though you can never have any software that 100% bug free the LTSB/C versions are much closer to bug free than the CB/CBB versions EVER will be. (IMO) Deferring features (even up to a year) is not acceptable (we don't need or want new features). When we deploy a specific image of an OS it needs to stay static (minus security updates). MS adding & removing features & deciding when your hardware is obsolete through an update is NOT acceptable. Testing builds every time MS decides to change something (min 2 times a year), is (IMO) a total waste of our time.

      • async2013 says:

        The microsoft spokesman has spoken people

      • Peter Montague says:

        Evolution often leads to dead ends.

  8. p51d007 says:

    ldiots! I'm sure someone will figure out a way to put it back one way or another!
    It's just much easier to FIND STUFF you need, through the control panel, but MS
    wants to screw it up some more.

  9. RealGomer says:

    I've been using CP since it came out. To me it is far easier to navigate, use, and get info. Win10's settings makes you dig and dive to find settings. (I'm still trying to find out how to select monitors). Once more it seems the the juvenile coders have "fixed" something that was working as it should.

  10. MyDisqussion says:

    There are instances when the neutered Settings page takes you to the Control Panel. Sometimes the original just works better than the copy.

  11. 1DaveN says:

    I have seen several instances where the Windows dev team is reaching out to see what people still use CP for. Hopefully, they're considering all those settings to be moved to Settings. Mine was that you need CP to see your saved web credentials, and probably some others to do specifically with the user profile.

  12. Greg Zeng says:

    "Control Panel" (CP) technologies are greatly debated & disputed in all technologies. Well designed interfaces allegedly need no such CP. Smart GUI technologies remove CP, by auto-sensing, intelligences of many kinds, and ergonomic architecture.
    In every organization, these debates continue & are revised endlessly. The longer & bigger the technologies, the more diverse and numerous are the CP. Microsoft Windows has so many, from many types of both amateurs and professionals. These arguments & disputes are never ending.
    Dumbing-down, the Apple way might seem the alternative: no choices, so no CP needed. In Linux, GNOME and many operating system decisions are removing such user choices.

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