Microsoft made a much-needed course correction with Windows 10, but a few flaws survived the transition from Win8.
Most notable is Win10’s dual system-configuration interfaces, Settings and Control Panel, inherited from Win8. It’s proof that two isn’t always better than one — it simply creates unneeded confusion.
At first glance, Win10’s Settings menu comes across as an underpowered tool for novices, with the legacy Control Panel providing the power tools for pros, power users — and Windows Secrets readers. Settings has a simple interface with big, easy-to-tap buttons that are well suited for mobile devices; Control Panel displays busy windows and complicated dialog boxes that cry out for a mouse.
That was my early impression. But as I worked with Win10, it quickly became obvious that my assumption was clearly wrong. Win10’s Settings environment improves vastly on Win8’s equivalent; and it’s often equal, or even better, than Control Panel. Sometimes you go to Control Panel because Settings doesn’t offer the tool you need. In other cases, a setting in no longer in Control Panel — Windows Update, for example. And both environments contain links that take you to more powerful offerings in the other one.
I’ll cover four areas where Win10 users will need to adapt to using one interface or the other.
Getting to know what’s now in each environment
Control Panel dates back to Windows 95. Much of it is familiar and intuitive to any reasonably experienced Windows user, though some options still require significant knowledge of how the operating system works.