When it comes to the Windows Control Panel and the new Settings app, Microsoft has been a little schizophrenic in recent years. While much of the functionality has been relocated to Settings, then Control Panel remains. This has caused a lot of confusion among Panels users who are trying to figure out where to go to make particular changes, and it doesn’t help matters because selecting a box in some Settings windows opens the Control Panel, and vice versa. Microsoft says it’s working on an “ongoing effort to carry over settings from Control Panel into the Settings app” in a new blog post on a new Windows Insider build, and it lists some of the new changes that have been transferred or adjusted.
The following are the major modifications Microsoft has in mind:
Network discovery, file and print sharing, and public folder sharing have all been moved to a new tab in the Settings app called “Advanced network settings.”
Device-specific pages in the Printers & Scanners section of the Settings menu have been modified to provide more extensive device information directly in this menu.
When you click on several Control Panel items, they will now take you to the Settings page.
Surprisingly, these changes appear to be a mix of things being moved out of the Control Panel and into Settings, such as complex file and printer sharing settings, while certain links in the Control Panel remain open in Settings, which is strange. These improvements are only available in Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22509, which is now available on the Developer channel, so it’s unclear when they’ll be available on your home PC.
These changes to the behavior of the Control Panel’s applets are likely to irritate the IT crowd and those who repair PCs for a livelihood, as they may make their jobs more difficult in some cases. Nobody would mind if Microsoft just relocated some things to Settings while preserving their functionality, as ArsTechnica noted over a year ago, but what it’s been doing is transferring and neutering some of them in the name of simplification, which is horrible for IT experts. For example, whereas you could previously right-click an icon in the Control Panel to examine its properties and choose from a range of actions, when there are no icons, as the Settings app is designed, all of that is gone. Everything is now sub-menued, and there is no right-click functionality. One of my pet peeves is that in the printer window of the Control Panel, I’ve used the right-click to “begin scan” for years, but this isn’t possible in the Printers & Scanners portion of Settings. That’s only one of the dozens of similar modifications that make IT professionals‘ and PC power users’ lives more difficult.
The updates, on the other hand, aren’t all awful. The taskbar and start menu have also been improved in this build, with the ability to see the date and time on secondary monitors and more settings for how the start menu functions. Users of Windows 11 will be able to alter the start menu to stay the same, show more pinned apps, or show more recommendations after the changes are carried out. Microsoft also just announced that it was reconsidering its plan to make changing your default web browser more difficult.