Windows 10: Settings vs. Control Panel

By | September 16, 2019
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Windows 10: Settings vs. Control Panel

Microsoft continues its push to deprecate Control Panel in Windows 10 as it pushes more and more out of the Control Panel and into the Settings app.

The first thing you should know about these two menus is that Settings is now the go-to tool for most of the common Windows personalization options, while Control Panel is generally reserved for more complex actions and settings.

A simple way to look at the difference – for now – is this: If you need to change the appearance of your computer, the way your computer works, or view or change your Windows Update settings, then the Settings app is the first place you should go.

If you’re looking for more complex settings, such as network, security, firewall, or hardware option, you should check out the Control Panel.

If you’re not sure whether to look in Settings or the Control Panel, save yourself some time and use Windows 10 taskbar search to look it up. For instance, if you’re want to change your screensaver, type screensaver in the taskbar search. You’ll see that the Control Panel is the place you want to go:

Control Panel vs. Settings - Cloudeight Windows 10 Tips

But if you want to turn your screensaver on or off, then Settings is where you need to be.  Keep in mind, the more general the search the more results you’ll get. Screensaver is a general search term that gives you several results.  So it’s better when you want to know if you should use the Control Panel or the Settings app, to use a general search term.

Available Options in Settings (Windows 10 version 1903)

  • System: Display, sound, notifications, power.
  • Devices: Bluetooth, printer, mouse.
  • Phone: Link your Android, iPhone.
  • Network & Internet: Wi-Fi, airplane mode, VPN.
  • Personalization: Background, lock screen, colors.
  • Apps: Uninstall, defaults, optional features.
  • Accounts: Your accounts, email, sync, family.
  • Time & Language: Speech, region, date.
  • Gaming: Game bar, captures, broadcasting, Game Mode.
  • Ease of Access: Narrator, magnifier, high contrast.
  • Search: Find my files, permissions.
  • Cortana: Cortana language, permissions, notifications.
  • Privacy: Location, camera, microphone.
  • Update & Security: Windows Update, recovery, backup.

Control Panel vs. Settings - Cloudeight Windows 10 Tips

Control Panel Options (Windows 10 version 1903)

  • System and Security: Review your computer’s status; Save backup copies of your files with File History; Backup and Restore (Windows 7).
  • User Accounts: Change user account type.
  • Network and Internet: View network status and tasks.
  • Appearance and Personalization: Taskbar and navigation (opens in Settings); Ease of Access, Folder options, Fonts.
  • Hardware and Sound:  View devices and printers; Add a device; Adjust commonly used mobility settings.
  • Clock, Language, & Region: Change date, time, or number formats.
  • Programs: Uninstall a program,
  • Ease of Access: Let Windows adjust settings; Optimize video display.

Control Panel vs. Settings - Cloudeight Windows 10 Tips

When in Doubt, Try the Settings App First

You can see from the information above that there is a lot of overlap between Settings and the Control Panel. As Microsoft continues to move towards the Settings app and away from the Control Panel,  when you’re in doubt as to whether to look in the Control Panel or Settings, try the Settings app first. But, remember, even in the newest versions of Windows 10,  there are still some options that you’ll only find in the Control Panel.

And don’t forget, you can use Taskbar search to save time if you’re not sure where to look. Just type a brief description of the option/ settings you’re looking for.

As Microsoft continues to move options out of the Control Panel and into the Settings app, it has removed all shortcuts to Control Panel.  You can access the Control Panel by typing Control in taskbar search. If you want to create a shortcut for the Control Panel on your taskbar, open the Control Panel (as above). When the Control Panel is open, right-click its icon on your taskbar and click “Pin to Taskbar”.

If you want as a shortcut to the Control Panel on your desktop, do this:

Open Settings
Click on Personalization
In Personalization click “Themes”
In Themes click on “Desktop icons settings”

Control Panel vs. Settings - Cloudeight Windows 10 Tips
Place a checkmark in the box next to Control Panel…

Control Panel vs. Settings - Cloudeight Windows 10 Tips

And that’s it!

Control Panel is going to slowly fade away, whether we want it to or not. And the Settings app will continue to grow – whether we like it or not. But for now, there are still some settings you’ll find only in the Control Panel. And to make things crazier, sometimes you’ll open something in the Control Panel that will open in the Settings app. And sometimes you’ll click on an item in the Settings app, that will open in the Control Panel.

One thought on “Windows 10: Settings vs. Control Panel

  1. Bruce Urlich

    I want to thank both of you for the time and effort you put into these notices.
    Sometimes I learn something, generally it’s a reminder of what I know, but had forgotten about, then there’s most of the notices that I read with interest, to confirm that I’m still ‘up with the play’.
    Which/what ever you share, I find the information always welcome and read a large chunk of what you deliver.
    Thanks again, from Auckland, New Zealand, as WE head into summer.
    Eat your hearts out.


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