One of the most important things in all Windows operating systems is how you can change the settings that govern the way your computer or device works. And Windows 10 is no different, although the new Settings app is: there are new settings, new categories of settings, a better way to navigate and a new way of searching for the settings that you want to change. In this article, we will show you how the new Settings app is organized in Windows 10 and how to navigate it as quickly as possible, so that you can find what you are looking for, as fast as possible. There’s quite a bit of ground to cover, so let’s get started:
NOTE: The features shared in this article apply only to Windows 10 with Anniversary Update or to Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14367 or newer. Windows 10 Anniversary Update will be available for free, to all Windows 10 users, as of July 2016.
What you’ll find in the new Settings app from Windows 10
First of all, here are all the ways to open the Settings app in Windows 10. When you open it , this is what you see:
The Settings app from Windows 10 holds almost all the settings governing the way your computer or device works. The traditional way of getting to one setting or to another is to open the appropriate settings category and browse through it until you find what you’re looking for.
And that’s okay, as the Settings app from Windows 10 is very well organized, a lot better than the old Control Panel used to be. Inside, you’ll find separate categories for:
- System - settings that allow you to control the display options, configure notifications, manage apps and manage power options.
- Devices - allows you to change all the settings related to the devices you have connected to your Windows 10 computer or device, including Bluetooth devices, printers, scanners, the mouse and keyboard and so on.
- Network & Internet - these settings allow you to configure your ethernet and wireless adapters. There are also settings for the virtual private networks and the proxies that you use.
- Personalization - from here you can change the Desktop Background, the Lock screen , the Taskbar , the colors used by Windows 10, as well as the way the Start Menu looks and works.
- Accounts - has the settings related to your personal account and information, sign-in options and syncing settings.
- Time & Language - is where you can change the date and time, the region you live in and the language you use, and where you can set up the speech options.
- Ease of Access - controls the Narrator and Magnifier tools, as well as other options such as the High contrast or Closed captions settings.
- Privacy - lets you set what information can Windows 10, apps or third party services access and use.
- Update & Security - gives you access to the settings that govern the way Windows 10 updates itself, it lets you control how Windows Defender protects you, and it lets you access the backup and recovery options found in Windows 10.
How to search for settings in the new Settings app from Windows 10
As we’ve seen, the Settings app is very well organized in different categories and finding your way through it is easy. However, there’s a faster way to find a setting you’re looking for, if you know what you’re looking for: use the search feature in the Settings app.
If you just opened the Settings app and you’re on the main view, you’ll immediately notice the large “Find a setting” field in the middle of the window.
Start typing what setting you want to change inside the “Find a setting” field. Immediately, the Settings app starts delivering matching settings. If the one you’re looking for is among them, click or tap on it and the app will take you straight to it.
If there are many search results that are related to the setting you’re looking for, you can press Enter on your keyboard or click or tap “Show all results”.
The Settings app will display all the search results in a separate view. Click or tap on the setting that interests you or use the search field from the top right side of the window to begin a new search.
Even if you enter a settings category from inside the Settings app, you can still use the “Find a setting” field to quickly find what you’re looking for. This field is now located on the left side of the app window.
Try using search a couple of times and you will learn that it is a very quick way to navigate the Settings app and all its configuration options.
How to browse the new Settings app as fast as possible
One thing that makes navigating the Settings app from Windows 10 a very fast and fluid experience is the Back button. The Back button is present everywhere inside Settings , helping you get back fast to the previous settings you were viewing. It doesn’t matter if you use the Settings app in fullscreen or if you have the window resized to its smallest possible size, the Back button is always displayed on the top left corner. That is unless you’re on the homescreen of the app, in which case there’s no button because there’s no going Back.
If you use Windows 10 in Tablet mode , the Back button is also present, but in this case it’s displayed on the taskbar instead of on the top left corner of the Settings app.
The Home button is the other feature that makes navigating through the Settings app a fast experience.
Whenever you dig deep through the settings, and you want a quick way out to the beginning, simply click or tap on the Home button from the top left corner of the window and you’ll be brought to the homescreen of the Settings.
Easy and fast - that’s how we would characterize the way Windows 10 lets you find the settings that you want to change. The question now is if you like it as much as we do. Do you find it easy to search for the settings you want to fiddle with? Or do you prefer browsing through the Settings app to get to where you want? Share your impressions with us, in the comments section below.