I'm a newcomer to Windows 10 and am really confused by all of the different programs that are on Windows 10 for configuring the system. Can someone clearly explain the difference between the following things

  1. Control Panel
  2. System Information
  3. Windows Settings
  4. System Properties

All of these names seem pretty similar, so much so that when I'm looking to go change a setting, I have no idea which of them I should go look for it in. I would like some intuition as to generally how settings/properties are grouped into these four programs so that I can more efficiently configure my system.

Thank you.

EDIT: Since posting this I've also come across yet another settings controller called "System Configuration". As a follow up question: why in the world does Windows need five different settings controllers?

  • That is not my question. – Jon Deaton Aug 3 '17 at 19:21
  • This question seem to have a descriptive answer if you do not mention your settings. – Biswapriyo Aug 3 '17 at 19:25
  • Great. I would love a descriptive answer. – Jon Deaton Aug 3 '17 at 19:26
  • @JonDeaton: as an aside, in C:\Windows\System32 you'll find all the executables opened with Control Panel, Start Menu. ect. Like snipping tool Device Manger... Cmd prompt... – Robert Fischer Aug 3 '17 at 19:49
  • 1
    Why the down vote? I found the question to be perfectly reasonable.... – Robert Fischer Aug 3 '17 at 20:06

Control Panel

is a centralized menu with shortcuts to most configuration options on the computer. There are several ways to access these settings, but Control Panel keeps them all together. For example, Device Manager can be opened via the start run box, or right clicking on This PC/My Computer, or through the Administrative Settings menu or even the command line.

Control Panel is easy to find for less experienced users.

System Properties

gives a brief overview of CPU, memory, work group if applicable and OEM (vendor). Otherwise completely useless.

Windows Settings

Similar to W7 Control Panel but with an extra annoying W10 GUI and settings which are harder to find if MS doesn't want you to find them. Example Telemetry...and others,

System Information

Excluding 3rd party utilities like AIDA64, this is the best and most reliable source of information about the machine. It gives details on architecture, hardware configuration, attached devices, Operating System, GPU...almost everything about the machine.

It can be accessed by pressing Windows Key + R then typing "msinfo32" in the run box..

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