If you have grown up with the Windows operating systems, you probably know the importance of the Control Panel. It has been the most iconic and useful Windows OS feature, which lets you control your whole system. Control Panel was the default location of all the essential Windows OS settings until Microsoft introduced the Windows Settings app from Windows 8.
That was the first shade to what now appears as a bigger picture. After the recent developments in Windows 10 20H2, some reports suggest Microsoft is planning to slowly phase out the Control Panel from the Windows 10 operating system and shift all settings to the Windows Settings app.
Though Microsoft does not officially mention it anywhere, they have good reasons to do that.
Let us try to analyze whether Microsoft is really planning to get rid of Control Panel from Windows 10, or the people are just over suspicious.
System Page is gone from Control Panel
If your system is on Windows 10 version 2004 or lower, you will find a System page in the Control Panel. This page was used for getting access to the full system information and launch remote assistance. It also provided links to other relevant tools, including the Device Manager and System Restore settings. Earlier this year, references to ‘Hide_System_Control_Panel’ were spotted in the Insider preview builds, which raised the speculations of System page removal from Control Panel.
Now from the recent Windows 10 October 2020 feature update, the access to the System page is officially gone from the Control Panel.
You will still find the option, but clicking on it would redirect you to Windows Settings app, where you will get the same information in a better graphical interface.
Refresh Rate Setting removed from Control Panel
Another evidence that tells about Microsoft’s bigger planning is the removal of Refresh Rate settings from the Control Panel.
Previously, you need to visit Control Panel for changing the screen’s refresh rate, but starting from Windows 10 20H2, this setting is available in the Windows Settings app.
For configuring this setting, navigate to: Settings -> System -> Display -> Advanced Display Settings.
Are these Changes enough to Suggest the Killing of Control Panel?
If you look at it, removing the above two settings from the Control Panel won’t impact a bit to the users. Think about it, who on earth frequently changes the Refresh Rate of the system? In fact, I can bet, until now, many of you might not even know such a setting exists on your Windows 10 system, forget about configuring it. The same goes for the System page.
Those two settings were not the WHOLE of the Control Panel, not even 1% of it. It might be possible that Microsoft is experimenting on something or just enhancing the usability of the System app.
If we assume that Microsoft is really planning to kill the Control Panel, then going by their current pace, it might take years or even decades to eliminate it entirely. The Settings app was first available on Windows 8 in 2012. From there, we got it on Windows 10 in 2015. It is still there, but Microsoft has rarely done anything significant that would alarm us about the Control Panel’s exit.
Why might Microsoft kill Control Panel?
Though the recent changes in the Windows 10 20H2 don’t directly suggest the elimination of the Control Panel from the OS, there are some good reasons for which Microsoft can think about doing that.
Think about it. Currently, Windows 10 settings are entirely messed up. For conducting some changes, you have to navigate Control Panel; for configuring some others, you have to move to System Settings. This is obviously creating confusion for the users.
Another problem is the old-fashioned interface of the Control Panel. Before you start judging me, let me make it clear, it’s not just about looks. The UI of the Control Panel has never been much tinkered with and kept traditional all the way. The problem with the current interface is, it is not touch-friendly. Modern devices with the touch-only interface simply can’t support the existing Control Panel.
So, considering these reasons and for modernizing Windows, it is possible that either Microsoft will entirely change the UI of Control Panel or will kill it, shifting all its settings to Windows Settings app.
So should we worry about the Control Panel?
Well, not any time soon. Control Panel still has many essential Windows settings that you won’t find on Windows Settings app. Even from the Windows settings app, users are often redirected to Control Panel for configuring some advanced settings.
Till the time the Control Panel is worthy, there is no way Microsoft can kill it. And with such a slow phasing out rate, it is highly unlikely that Control Panel will be gone soon, even if Microsoft wants to. We have to wait for the next feature updates to see some major changes.
Though the change is the only inevitable thing, the Control Panel’s exit may cost Microsoft their traditional users as most of them are attached to the old classic Control Panel. Microsoft is not that foolish to not know that.
Peter is an Electrical Engineer whose primary interest is tinkering with his computer. He is passionate about Windows 10 Platform and enjoys writing tips and tutorials about it.