Things I would like to see in Windows 8 – Part 2 – The Control Panel

November 28, 2009

So, this is a tougher one to write about.

Microsoft have struggled to simplify the control panel for the past several years and iterations of Microsoft Windows.

Things got better with Windows 7 as they have made several improvements and it looks a lot more intuitive.

Screenshots below…

Windows 7 Control Panel 2

Windows 7 Control Panel 2

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that there is still way too much going on in the control panel.

My cousin was telling me the other night that he was at some Microsoft event and the Microsoft employee giving the presentation had trouble locating a feature in the Control Panel.

I don’t have the perfect solution proposed but I do know that for Windows 8, it needs to get simpler.

There are way too many things going on in the control panel right now..

What do you guys think?

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Mike Johnson is a writer for The Redmond Cloud - the most comprehensive source of news and information about Microsoft Azure and the Microsoft Cloud. He enjoys writing about Azure Security, IOT and the Blockchain.

All Comments

  • I agree!

    That has been the Achilles heel of Windows since the 90’s.

    It’s a difficult problem to solve though and I am not sure how to simplify the control panel either.

    Maybe the solution is to make Windows more modular so that different sections of Windows have their attributes modifiable only in that area?


    Marcus November 28, 2009 6:19 pm Reply
  • Well, first off, they should put all the settings in one place, not scattered all over the place in deeply nested submenus with tabs and more submenus with more tabs etc. All should be on one level, therefore the control panel should be organized as a tree view, like in TweakUI. Second, the control panel should be searcheable, so that each option accessible from the control panel can be located. This is necessary because we some times remember the name of the option (e.g. we could type "speed" to locate the "Mouse pointer speed" setting) but not where it is. So if I type "speed" and hit Enter, I would be taken straight to the first setting that has "speed" in its name. Hitting Enter again would take me to the next setting with "speed" in its name, should there be one, and so forth.

    Scoox June 5, 2010 9:19 am Reply
  • The control panel is searchable. In windows 7 you just have click the start menu and type speed.

    Matt June 17, 2010 11:49 pm Reply
  • you can use the GodMode hack to see all of the control panel items in one page.

    1. create a new folder.
    2.rename the new folder to : GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C} you can see all of the items in one screen.


    Liran November 18, 2010 3:59 am Reply
  • The reason these options are buried in the control panel is to prevent people that dont know what they are doing from messing up their computer. If you are very familiar with Windows then you should know that there are more than one way to reach a particular feature. For example, click start, run, type regedit and press enter. or you can open Computer, open Local Disk C:, open Windows folder, and open regedit from there. you tell me. which is easier? Take some time and learn some commands to open particular features. might come in handy when you are a Microsoft Event.

    WillyWill December 5, 2010 3:33 pm Reply
  • Sorry, you’re an idiot. Windows is not mac – want something simpler? Switch to Apple.

    AWWilly January 6, 2011 2:37 pm Reply
  • Make it simpler and leave us with less options? This is never good. There could be a basic-advanced toggle so that new (and stupid) users are not frightened and not kill their pc by improper tweaking, but leaving out the advanced options altogether is plain dumb. Same as AWWilly said: “Windows is not mac”

    bladerunner January 16, 2011 6:05 am Reply
  • Though I agree that the control panel could be simpler, it’s much easier to find stuff on Windows 7 than previous versions. Pretty much every window you open can be searched as well as from the start menu. Also, after years of using Mac and PC, I’ve found that simpler is not always better. Sometimes something being easier to use gives you less control. Sometimes when stuff is easier to use or seems to “just work” when there is a problem you have a harder time fixing it. Sometimes easier just makes it too easy to not know how to do anything. But that’s fine with me, we have too many DIYers that wanna try to do everything taking away from the trained person’s chance to put skills to use

    Sonic98 March 4, 2011 1:48 pm Reply
  • The control panel is definitely simpler when using the category model. I don’t think you need to change too much since they improved the search capability. Coming from using XP before it is nice to open the start menu hit ne and find the network and sharing center right off the bat. I find I use the control panel less and less since the search is that good.

    Tovy Thomas March 10, 2011 10:48 am Reply
  • it looks like your gonna be stuck with this same control panel for awhile

    michai August 30, 2011 7:43 pm Reply

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