Microsoft to finally bury the Control Panel – look out for zPC Settings!

As you may know, the Windows 8.x is not a commercial success by any stretch of imagination. While I personally love the Windows 8.1, many people don’t for various reasons, some warranted and some not. One of the most important reason for disliking the Windows 8.x OS is the inconsistency. The Windows 8.x user interface is a Frankenstein’s creation, a marriage of disparity. The modern design of the Metro Start Screen did not with the traditional design of the desktop, which stayed the same as Windows 7 desktop. Another element that don’t quite fit in was the classic themed Control Panel, which was exactly the same as in Windows 7. Because of that, Microsoft had another place for Settings: The modern UI app called “PC Settings“. This was necessary, as the classic style control panel was (and is) not touch-friendly, with the menu style largely stay unchanged since the Windows 95. It felt cluttered and really useless if don’t know exactly where you have to set up something – and its small dialog windows are impossible to resize, and not compatible with modern feature like scaling.

With Windows 10, Windows enters a whole new era. Windows 10 will run on every device, from the smallest Smartphone, to normal Ultrabook or a Convertible like the Yoga or bigger TV style PC. The old Control Panel style was a misfit – it didn’t integrate smoothly with the modern apps on high-res screens, etc. It just needs to go, there is no way around that. Besides, the duality of the Control Panel and the PC Settings app received bad critics in Windows 8.x, and merging both is a common feedback for Windows 10. So, it seems Microsoft will finally bury the Control Panel as we know it, and introduce a new version of the PC Settings app, with much more settings than before.

If you are using the Windows 10 Tech Preview, you can already see this change. Since Build 9860, a new app is included in Windows 10, called “zPC Settings“. The small “z” means its a new, unfinished version. This new version of the PC Settings, although still unfinished (for example, it contains a small easteregg “Windows Defender for great justice!”), some parts of it are pending or deprecated. But you can already see what Microsoft plans: With every new Build, the zPC Settings app gets more and more settings usually found in the Control Panel. The way in the future is clear: The Control Panel will die – and it has to die. Maybe it will happen as soon as January/February, when Microsoft will announce their “Consumer Preview/Tech preview for Consumers” version of Windows 10. I will conclude this article by pointing out some differences and advantages of the Settings app…


PC Settings are more user friendly and easier to use

Honestly, the Control Panel is a really, really bad mess. Too much information on a small room, it gets confusing and difficult to use. To many applets, too many clicks, and too many sub-menus. Even I as a long-time Windows user sometimes have problems to find even some basic settings, as everything is hidden in some small applet. One example…

Too many applets

With the Windows Settings App, you only have one window, no applets at all, and a better menu structure. See this example:

PC Settings

PC Settings are also just simpler. Easier layout, less distracting detail. See:

zPC Settings

And compare this to how it looks in the Control Panel:

Ease of Access

The Control Panel doesn´t scale

Today, many high-end systems and displays are high res. Without scaling, everything is way too small if you use a 13″ 3100×1800 display. The control panel and the applets, especially the applets, doesn´t scale correctly. Instead, they end up looking fuzzy.

 The menu structure of the Control Panel is horrible

Just look at how the control panel looked when it was first introduced with Windows NT 4.0 / Windows 95:

95s3

This was the point when the Control Panel was most usable. This is how it looks in Windows Vista, 7, 8 and currently still in the Tech Preview:

Control Panel

Even the current version of the PC Settings have a much better structure:

PC


Note of course again that the zPC Settings are still work in progress – but I am very excited to see when Microsoft finally buries the Control Panel and reveals a much needed update for the PC Settings to be the one and only place for settings. What do you think? Post you comments down below…

 

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