Like the control panel in the cockpit of an airplane, the Control Panel is an extremely important feature of Windows 8.1. It’s teeming with miniature applications (or applets) that govern every conceivable setting for every conceivable component of your computer. Some are so important that you may use them (or their corresponding notification-area icons) every day. Others are so obscure that you’ll wonder what on earth inspired Microsoft to create them.
Now, the Control Panel isn’t the only source of settings in Windows. Some of the most frequently used controls are right there in the Charms bar (hit Settings). Another set, containing both TileWorld-specific settings and duplicates of the Control Panel settings, awaits when you tap “Change PC settings” on said Charms bar.
This chapter, however, covers the real deal, The Big One, the main event: the traditional desktop Control Panel.
Here and there, within the Control Panel, you’ll spot a little Windows security-shield icon. It tells you that you’re about to make an important, major change to the operating system, something that will affect everyone who uses this PC—fiddling with its network settings, for example, or changing its clock. To prove your worthiness (and to prove that you’re not an evil virus attempting to make a nasty change), you’ll be asked to authenticate yourself; see Disabling Accounts for details.