The Settings Charm

SettingsCharmHorizontal

This charm provides you access to system-wide as well as application-specific settings. It can be used for both, metro and desktop apps.

How to Invoke It

  • Summon the Charms Bar, and select the “Settings” button.

OR

  • Simply hit Win + I key combo.

The resulting pane on the right edge shows settings for system as well as the current application (if any). The pane of this charm is commonly divided into two areas. The upper area contains the application-specific settings. The lower area contains the system-wide commonly used settings.

Figure 1 Settings Charm showing system and application settings

Figure 1 Settings Charm showing system and application settings

System Settings

The system-wide settings contain six commonly used options:

  • Network connection: Lets you change network and toggle Airplane mode.
  • Volume control: Lets you change volume.
  • Brightness control: Lets you change brightness.
  • Notifications control: It basically lets you specify for how much time you want to hide any unread notifications.
  • Power options: This is where you will find the “lost” Shut down, Sleep and Restart options. Mouse users are going to have a hard time shutting down their PCs as it takes several actions –
    • Invoke Charms Bar
    • Select Settings Charm
    • Click on “Power Options”
    • Finally you will be able to shut down, sleep or restart your PC. You would rather leave it on, wouldn’t you? Instead, you should try getting used to Alt+F4 key combo to save some electricity.
  • Language options: You can change your PC, keyboard language here. I am not sure, though, if an average user would use this option much.

Besides that, it also provides further access to Metro control panel with “More PC settings” option.

Application Settings

It obviously depends on the current running app. The limitation, however, is that these settings are exclusive to Metro apps.

In the Messaging example, you have options like

  • You can configure your chat accounts.
  • Set permissions for the app. For example, if it can access your webcam.

The sub-settings are provided within the pane only. This way, it becomes less intrusive.

Conclusion

The access to frequently used global settings is a nice touch in this charm. Obscuring the power options, however, may be one of the worst decisions in Windows 8.

The context-sensitive nature of this charm is its main advantage. It gives a consistent interface for settings of all the Metro apps. This way, changing the settings will become less intrusive. I bet anyone would find a right-edged pane quietly showing you options better than a settings window popping on your face and confusing you with several tabbed options.

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Comments

  • Willem

    Well, if obscuring the power options is one of the worst decisions in Windows 8, then we are doing all right! It’s not that hard to find, and shutting down is pretty straight forward once you’ve done it once.

    If that’s all we can find to fault Windows 8, then we have an excellent OS with no real problems.