As with any other Windows version, the Control Panel is the main place where a user tunes up his/her computer and changes all default settings. From here users can access a basic list of all hardware components, uninstall programs, mess with user rights and look for a backup solution when some drivers start to behave strangely. It's the place where everything happens and it's a start for all customisation junkies.
Windows 8, the developer preview version, has shown us that designers can revamp the Control Panel to a level of functionality, which I say is above average and better than most of the other operating systems out there. Studies show that the Control Panel is the second most discussed feature which Windows 8 has to offer, topped only by the extravagance of the Metro start menu (which can be disabled).
Today, we are going to present you the basic features behind Windows 8 Control Panel and what you can do using these options.
1. Personalise: The first tab shown in Control Panel, right after activation, offers the possibility of customising the Lockscreen and the User Tile. From here you can change the background on each feature and even add a couple of applications that will display content to the lock screen.
2. Users: As we discussed here, this is the place where you can create or modify a user account. Security aspects of the login can also be configured here by selecting one of three login methods: classic password, PIN or using predefined gestures on a picture.
3. Notifications: From this window you can tweak the settings and choose which application should notify you when something happens or completely shut off in case you don't prefer these messages. Each app listed here has a small toggle button that can be used to switch its notifying option ON or OFF.
4. Privacy: The privacy menu settles how applications use personal information in their data, like the location, your name, the account picture and everything else. Here you can delete the history of your applications and decide if you want to help Microsoft by sending them error reports.
5. General: One of the most important tabs in the Control Panel, the general menu, allows you to tweak touch-keyboard options and offers error recovering tools. From here, you can Refresh or Reset the PC if something goes wrong, in just a couple of clicks.
6. Search: While many of you might be disappointed with Windows' current search function, this is going to change in Windows 8. The new search function uses global integrated search, a feature that looks even inside apps to find what you are looking for. From this menu you can choose to delete all the keywords you've searched until know, enable the search history used for suggestions and also toggle what apps you can show when you activate the search panel.
7. Ease of Access: Found in previous versions, as a place where you could import some settings and let the computer decide what's best, this feature can modify the overall experience in Windows 8. For those who are visually less abled, Microsoft has implemented a high contrast toggle, which basically turns everything in black and white. Also from here you can choose to setup some keyboard shortcuts and use bigger icons on the desktop.
8. Devices: You will find here a list of all connected devices, with the possibility of removing them at the push of a button.
9. Sync PC Settings: Using Window's Live ID feature, you can configure the PC to automatically import major settings when accessing the same account from a different Windows 8 system. These settings include the desktop, apps permissions, passwords, etc.
10. Windows Update: Last but not least, this is the place to stay updated with newer OS versions.
Although all the features can also be found under the classic Windows 7 view, once you get the hang of the Metro Style panel, you will never forget it.