Windows 10 might be ditching one of its most useful features

(Image credit: Future)

Could Windows 10 be set to drop the iconic Control Panel? Even though the Control Panel has been an essential part of Windows since Windows 2.0 launched 33 years ago, it looks like its days might be numbered.

A new preview build of Windows 10 (Build 19587 to be precise) has been released to Windows Insiders (volunteers who try out early versions of the operating system), and as Windows Latest reports, there’s references to ‘Hide_System_Control_Panel’ and ‘SystemToAboutSettingsSearchRemoval’ in the code.

This suggests that Microsoft is considering implementing big changes to the Control Panel, perhaps hiding it from most users. If Microsoft does indeed bury Control Panel in a future Windows 10 update, it means it could be preparing to drop the feature altogether at some point.

Oh Control Panel, where art thou? 

Despite being an essential part of Windows for over three decades, the Control Panel seems to have fallen out of favor with Microsoft recently.

The Control Panel used to be the place to access all of your computer’s settings, but with Windows 8, Microsoft pushed a more basic ‘Settings’ app, while keeping the Control Panel separate for ‘advanced’ users who wanted more control over their PC.

This ended up annoying a lot of people (one could argue that was Windows 8’s speciality, though), as the new Settings app was far too basic.

Meanwhile Windows 10 launched with an improved Settings app, while again keeping the Control Panel for more advanced settings.

Users are already encouraged to use the Settings app, but if Microsoft really is planning to make it harder to find the Control Panel (or hide certain settings within it, to make it less useful), then let’s hope the company is also looking to drastically improve the Settings app as well.

We don’t know when these changes will appear in Windows 10 (if they ever do), but with the Windows 10 20H1 update releasing immenently, it might be in a later update, like Windows 10 20H2, where these changes are present.

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.