One of the unique features in Windows 10 is the built-in Windows Settings app, a replacement to the traditional Control Panel. The settings app consists of various settings arranged into categories/sections and pages with toggle switches and other types of controls to enable/disable options or to modify the functionality of the operating system. It enables users to personalize various options and settings from a single central point.
To open the Windows 10 Settings app, click the Start button and click the settings (gear) icon from the menu. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut, “Win +I” to launch the app directly.
You may need to customize the Windows Settings app for some reasons including:
- Maintain a minimal and clutter-free Settings app.
- Restrict other computer users from changing your favourite settings.
- Access some of the hidden settings sections/ pages from the app.
Luckily, Windows 10 allows you to remove or add categories, sections or pages of the Settings app. This guide shows you how to customize the Windows Settings app.
Remove/ Hide Pages, Sections or Categories from Settings App
Method 1: Using the Group Policy Editor
- Press the “Win + R” keys to open Run prompt. Type the command “GPedit.msc” and hit Enter or click “Ok” to launch the Group Policy editor.
- Expand the “Administrative Templates” folder found under the “Computer Configurations” section on the left sidebar.
- Click the “Control Panel” folder to see its contents on the right-side panel and look for “Settings Page Visibility”.
- Double click to open the template and on the resulting pop-up check the “Enabled” radio button.
- Here you have two options to customize the settings app; show or hide some pages from the PC settings.
- To remove a particular setting page from the app, go to the textbox under the “Options” heading and type the following ‘hide:[page_URI]’ where the page_URI represents the page Uniform Resource Identifier.
- If you want to hide multiple pages, you need to list all the URIs of the pages separated by a semi-colon (;) and then click “Apply” followed by “Ok” to save the changes.
- Open or Relaunch the Settings app and when you access the system settings, you will notice that the “Display” and the “Sound” settings pages are not listed among the options.
Showing Selective Setting Pages
Another way of hiding multiple setting pages is by list the pages you would like to see on the settings app.
- Click the textbox and type ‘showonly:[Page_URI;Page_URI;…]. Replace the Page_URI with the identifier of the pages you want to see.
- For instance, you may need to access the “Display” and the “Sound” settings only. You will type ‘showonly:display;sound’ and then click the “Apply” and “Ok” buttons.
- If you open the system settings, only the two listed pages will be available.
Customizing the Settings App Homepage by Hiding/ Removing Categories
The Windows Settings app home page displays the categories for various options and settings namely; System, Devices, App, Accounts and so on. You can use the ‘showonly’ or the ‘hide’ string to hide a category from the home page.
To remove a category from the settings app main-page:
- You use the ‘hide’ mode and list all the pages within a category or
- Use the ‘showonly’ mode specifying the pages of the categories you want to see.
Note: To you can reverse the changes by checking the “Not Configured” option on the “Settings Page Visibility” pop-up.
Method 2: How to Customize the Settings App from the Registry Editor
For those using Windows 10 Home edition, the above method will not work, as the version does not have the Group Policy Editor. Fortunately, users can personalize the Windows 10 Settings app by with a simple registry tweak.
- Press the “Win + R” keys and run the command, “regedit” to open the Windows Registry editor.
- Navigate through the editor to, “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies” and click the “Explorer” folder.
- On the right pane, right-click the white space, select “New” and then click “String Value”.
- Rename the new string to “SettingsPageVisibility” and then double click it to set its value.
- In the “Value data” textbox, type the ‘showonly’ or the ‘hide’ strings, specifying the list of pages you want to show/hide as we did in Method 1 above.
- For instance, ‘hide:display;bluetooth’ will hide the Display and Bluetooth settings page.
- Click the “Ok” button and exit the Registry editor. You can relaunch the Settings app to see if the two settings pages were removed.
The Windows 10 Settings app is a very important tool that enables users to configure various system settings and options to enjoy a personalized Windows experience. With the above options, you can customize the Settings app by removing some of the settings/options or showing only what is important to you. This can be useful especially when you want to work with a clutter-free settings app or to restrict other computer users from changing your PC settings.