This iconic Windows 11 tool isn’t getting ditched… yet

Man with a CRT monitor showing the Windows 11 control panel for a head
(Image credit: IvaFoto / Shutterstock / Microsoft)

The Control Panel has been an integral – and iconic – part of Windows since the very first version of the operating system, which was launched in 1985, but its days are numbered, with Microsoft moving even more of its functionality to the newer Settings app in Windows 11.

However, while an upcoming Windows 11 update looks set to move more of the Control Panel to Settings, according to Windows Latest, Microsoft hasn’t completely ditched it.

The biggest feature to migrate from Control Panel to Settings is the ability to uninstall programs, including older Win32 desktop apps. The Settings window was able to uninstall some apps, but not all of them, so this move is certainly welcome, and means there’s less switching between screens to find what you need.

Analysis: A stay of execution, but should Control Panel be put out of its misery?

Despite launching with every Windows version, the time has come for Microsoft to fully ditch the Control Panel. As you may expect of a feature that’s approaching its fourth decade, the Control Panel feels pretty archaic.

It’s changed little over the years, and while that’s led to it being a comfortingly familiar presence no matter what version of Windows you use, it’s really started to stand out among the more modern apps of Windows 11.

When Microsoft began to seriously overhaul the look of Windows, starting with Windows 8, it bungled the job, somewhat, keeping both older, legacy apps, like Control Panel, while introducing modern apps like Settings, which often did the same job.

This meant that Windows 8, as well as Windows 10 and Windows 11, felt like multiple operating systems bolted together, rather than one unified, modern, OS.

Microsoft is trying to rectify that with Windows 11 and has modernized many of its iconic apps, such as Paint.

It’s also started to migrate Control Panel features to Settings, with an aim of ditching Control Panel completely at some point. While this is a wise move, it still feels like Microsoft is moving too slowly, as users may visit the Settings app, only to find they actually need to go to Control Panel for the setting they want.

This was particularly annoying when uninstalling applications, as the Settings app would only uninstall certain apps, and you’d have to use Control Panel for the others.

Unsurprisingly, this caused a lot of confusion and frustration, and while we can understand Microsoft wanting to slowly move over to Settings, it would be far better for users to rip off the bandage, and just move everything to Settings at once, and kill off Control Panel once and for all.

Of course, we’ll be sad to see Control Panel disappear, but it wouldn’t just make Windows 11 easier to use, it’d save the iconic feature from a long, drawn-out death of a thousand cuts.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.