Microsoft Just Took Another Step Toward Killing the Control Panel

Microsoft Just Took Another Step Toward Killing the Control Panel

Those who were brave enough to download Windows 11 might have noticed that, while the new OS is more attractive than those before it, some interfaces are stuck in the stone age.

If I had to rank Windows 10 elements by most in need of a visual overhaul, the File Explorer, Device Manager, and Control Panel would be my top three. The file storage app got the attention it desperately needed, but Windows neglected the other two. While everyday users are less likely to sneak their way into the Device Manager, the Control Panel is the first place some people go when they want to adjust any settings.

Instead of overhauling this legacy component, Microsoft appears to be stripping it for parts. In a step toward removing the Control Panel from Windows, Microsoft moved the advanced networking settings into a new area within the Settings apps. Here, you’ll find sharing options for network discovery, file and printer sharing, and public folder sharing.

Screenshot: Phillip Tracy
Screenshot: Phillip Tracy

Microsoft outlined the transfer of power in release notes for Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22509:

  • We have moved the advanced sharing settings (such as Network discovery, File and printer sharing, and public folder sharing) to a new page in Settings app under Advanced Network Settings.
  • We’ve made some updates to the device specific pages under Printers & Scanners in Settings to show more information about your printer or scanner directly in Settings when available.
  • Some of the entry points for network and devices settings in Control Panel will now redirect to the corresponding pages in Settings.

Not only that, but links for uninstalling apps and updates that once took to you the Control Panel now direct you to the Settings app (Settings > Windows Update > Update History).

Microsoft has been transparent about the Control Panel’s fate, calling these latest changes part of an “ongoing effort to bring over settings from Control Panel into the Settings app.”

With the Settings menu now housing Windows 11’s most important functions, the Control Panel is looking sparse. Some options remain in the antiquated app for legacy purposes, but it’s starting to feel like Microsoft could soon take the Control Panel off life support without angering the few “pro” users who still use it.

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