Settings (Windows)

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Windows Settings app icon.png
Windows 10 settings app.png
Settings app on Windows 10 version 20H2, displayed with light theme
Other namesPC settings
Immersive Control Panel
Included with
TypeControl panel

Settings or Windows Settings (known as PC settings in Windows 8 and 8.1) is a component of Microsoft Windows which was introduced in Windows 8. It allows the user to customize and configure the operating system. Microsoft intends for it to eventually replace the existing Control Panel.[1] It provides access to the main configuration options and settings for a user's PC. While very similar to the original Control Panel, the new Settings menu features categories of possible user interactions and activities, rather than simply listing all devices and options, from whom a user is supposed to choose.

Windows 8[edit]

On Windows 8, PC settings was designed as a simplified settings area optimized for use on touchscreen devices. It exposed a small portion of Control Panel functionality on a two-paned full-screen interface; additionally, adding accounts and changing user pictures could only be done from PC settings.[2]

Windows 8.1 improved upon this component to include more options that were previously exclusive to Control Panel,[3] as well as providing more organization and a redesign. It also added a small "Control Panel" link at the bottom of the left pane to allow users to open the Control Panel and access further options.

The categories listed are:

  • PC and devices
  • Accounts
  • OneDrive
  • Search and apps
  • Privacy
  • Network
  • Time and language
  • Ease of Access
  • Update and recovery
  • (Only if Windows isn't activated) Activate Windows

Windows 10[edit]

On Windows 10, the app was renamed to "Settings". It includes more options that were previously exclusive to the desktop Control Panel.[4][5] Windows Update, which belonged to the Control Panel prior to Windows 10, now exclusively belong to Settings. As it is also a Universal Windows app, this version of Settings is also used on Windows 10 Mobile for smartphones and tablet computers.[6][7] On October 4, 2015, Brandon LeBlanc from Microsoft said Settings would eventually replace the Control Panel.[1]

The Windows 10 Settings app contains the following categories:

  • System
  • Devices
  • Phone (introduced in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update)
  • Network & Internet
  • Personalization
  • Apps (introduced in Windows 10 Creators Update)
  • Accounts
  • Time & Language
  • Gaming (introduced in Windows 10 Anniversary Update)
  • Ease of Access
  • Search
  • Cortana (introduced in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update; removed in Windows 10 May 2020 Update)
  • Privacy
  • Update & Security
  • Mixed Reality (introduced in Windows 10 Creators Update; appears only if a device meeting minimum HoloLens requirements is connected to the PC.)[8]
  • (Only if Windows isn't activated) "Windows isn't activated. Activate Windows now." , listed at the very bottom of the settings home page.

Windows 11[edit]

On Windows 11, the app has undergone a significant visual redesign, with a new layout, greater translucency, and refreshed icons, following the Fluent Design System. A persistent navigation sidebar has also been added, linking to various groupings of settings within the app.[9]

The Windows 11 settings app contains the following categories:

  • System
  • Bluetooth & devices
  • Network & internet
  • Personalization
  • Apps
  • Accounts
  • Time & language
  • Gaming
  • Accessibility
  • Privacy & security
  • Windows Update


  1. ^ a b Coppock, Mark (October 9, 2015). "Microsoft will fully replace Control Panel with "Settings" in future Windows 10 builds". On MSFT. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
  2. ^ "Adding and Managing Users in Windows 8". PC World. IDG. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
  3. ^ Bright, Peter (March 25, 2013). "Windows Blue leaks: More Metro, more multitasking". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
  4. ^ "Windows 10 review: Technical Preview (January 2015)". PC Pro. Retrieved February 7, 2015.
  5. ^ Jacobsson Purewal, Sarah (May 26, 2016). "Windows 10 Settings Menu: The System tab". CNET. CBS Interactive. Retrieved February 7, 2015.
  6. ^ Lowensohn, Josh (January 21, 2015). "Microsoft previews universal apps for Windows 10 PCs, tablets, and phones". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved February 7, 2015.
  7. ^ Bright, Peter (February 6, 2015). "Leaked images of Windows 10 for phones show us what to expect". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. Retrieved February 7, 2015.
  8. ^ "Add or Remove Mixed Reality from Settings in Windows 10 - Winaero". Winaero. February 16, 2017. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  9. ^ Parmar, Mayank (June 24, 2021). "Microsoft shows off redesigned Settings app for Windows 11". Windows Latest. Retrieved June 29, 2021.

External links[edit]