Windows 10 Guide Updated: 10/30/18

About Settings

The Settings app continues to take over much of the job previously handled by Control Panel. It is meant to be a first-stop page for users looking to customize and personalize Windows. Many key areas are are found here, including: Privacy, Personalization, Network and Internet, and Update & security.

The traditional Control Panel, with all its familiar applets, is still available (see below).

Here are the categories of Settings available through the Settings app:

SystemDisplay, notifications, power
DevicesBluetooth, printers, mouse
PhoneLink your Android, iPhone
Network and InternetWi-fi, airplane mode, VPN
PersonalizationBackground, colors, lock screen, themes, start menu, taskbar
AppsUninstall, defaults, optional features
AccountsYour account, sync settings, work, other users
Time and languageSpeech, region, date
Ease of AccessNarrator, magnifier, high contrast
GamingGame bar, DVR, broadcasting, Game Mode
CortanaSpeech, permissions, notifications
PrivacyLocation, camera
Update and securityWindows Update, Windows Security, recovery, backup, and more

Each of the links in the above list leads to one or more pages dedicated to that category. In almost every case, there are further pages containing additional settings.

How Do I Open the Settings App?

The Settings screen can be opened by clicking the "gear" icon in Start Menu:

You can also type Settings into the Cortana/Search bar - the Settings app will be the top choice. You can pin the Settings icon to either the Start menu or the Taskbar if that is more convenient.

Find a Setting

Because of the very large number and diversity of settings, Windows 10 includes a Find a Setting search mechanism that can be invaluable when you've forgotten where a particular setting is kept. Suppose you want to investigate Virtual Desktops. You can type in a keyword - say, "virtual" - and find any settings entries that have "virtual" in their title. Type in "virtual desk" and you'll narrow the search to just what you need.

The input box for Find a Setting is located in the upper right-hand corner of the Settings pages.

In some cases you may need to click on the "Show all results" link at the bottom of the displayed list of settings.

You also might have to experiment with how to name what you're looking for, as is the case with most search engines. The good news here is that Microsoft recently improved this feature and increased the dictionary of terms it recognizes and handles effectively.

What Happened to Control Panel?

It's still there, although you have to find it by other means: search for Control Panel in Cortana, and pick the choice designated "desktop app":