Windows 11 gets new features for Settings app as Microsoft continues with its ‘death by a thousand cuts’ for Control Panel

Microsoft is slowly shifting the functionality of the old Control Panel that’s still kicking about in Windows 11 to the Settings app, and some more features have just made this transition – at least in test builds of the OS.

Windows Latest spotted this fresh activity in terms of shuffling features across, work that should benefit Windows 11 users when the 24H2 update is released later this year.

One move here is with the Power & Battery panel in the Settings app, which now presents laptop users with the ability to change ‘Lid, power, and sleep button controls’ (options currently in the Control Panel, as noted). This allows you to decide what happens when you close the notebook lid or hit the power button (have the device sleep, hibernate, shut down – or do nothing).

For desktop PC users, there are power options, but obviously, they are slightly different – there’s no lid to shut in this case, and also the hibernate option isn’t present.

Microsoft is also working on the Display section of Settings, having introduced Color Management options to allow you to change your Color Profiles (again, shifting that from the Control Panel).

Another small move was noticed by Windows Latest in the Storage Pool panel where there is a new option to ‘Delete this Storage pool’ which was previously only accessible via the legacy Control Panel.

Analysis: Control Panel’s slow slide into oblivion

All of these are relatively minor moves – well, the power-related changes are more important, to be fair – but it’s all additional momentum in terms of the Settings app finally taking over all the duties of the old Control Panel. It’s just that Microsoft is being very slow in drip-feeding these kinds of changes to Windows 11 (and indeed Windows 10) users.

The problem is that the amount of options under the hood of Microsoft’s desktop operating system is vast, frankly (and some of those functions are niche and rarely seen by the majority of everyday users – like storage pools). So, it’s taking some time for Microsoft to get its house in order in terms of migrating all of this functionality to the Settings app, which was introduced with Windows 8, but took center stage in Windows 10.

Work began in earnest on dismantling the Control Panel with Windows 10 back in 2020, and the eventual aim is to ditch the panel from Windows 11 (or a future version of the OS, most likely) completely.

However, there are still legacy areas of the Control Panel around as we’ve seen, and when these old, rusty pieces of interface pop up, it can be pretty jarring. Particularly in Windows 11 where Microsoft has gone further to achieve a sleeker and more modern look with its desktop and menus.

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Windows 11 users can’t get enough of Copilot, apparently – that’s why Microsoft supersized the AI’s panel

The Copilot panel in Windows 11 has been tinkered with a good deal in recent times, and a newer change that has been applied is one to switch up the way it appears by default, which has now been accompanied by a prompt from Microsoft explaining why.

This was spotted by regular leaker Leopeva64 on X (formerly Twitter), who noted that the Copilot pane is now wider than it used to be, and opens as an overlay, rather than in side-by-side view (a more compact form, where it’s always nestling next to your active window).

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Leopeva64 explains that the Copilot interface has opened this way for a short while now, but a new addition is a prompt Microsoft has added to explain why.

The ‘What’s new’ pop-up tells us that the recent change to make the panel wider so there’s “more space to chat” was due to Windows 11 user feedback requesting that additional real-estate. It also notes, however, that there’s a button at the top of the panel you can click to switch back to the more compact side-by-side layout, if you wish.

Analysis: Copilot expansion

It’s useful to have an explanation of the recent move to change the default settings for how the AI opens, and by all accounts, this points to Windows 11 users favoring a larger Copilot panel. (Or at least some of them, and we could assume the majority, at least of those who’ve fed back to Microsoft on Copilot’s interface).

Certainly those who use Copilot quite a lot in Windows 11, engaging in longer sessions of queries, may welcome the AI assistant getting more screen space by default.

The truth is we can expect to see a lot more of Copilot, one way or another, going forward. By which we mean Microsoft is already testing the waters for having the AI assistant appear when Windows 11 first boots (in a limited fashion thus far, mind). Furthermore, there are clues that Copilot may be integrated into other parts of the Windows 11 interface (such as File Explorer). We can envisage further possibilities like being able to dock Copilot elsewhere (it sits on the right-hand side of the screen currently).

What we definitely don’t want to see are nudges or adverts to use Copilot, but sadly – yet somewhat predictably – this has been spotted in testing too (promoting Copilot Pro, the supercharged paid version of the AI, we should clarify).

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