Huge Windows 10/2016 improvement!

Tailor and his protege measuring client for custom made garment

Great guest post from Jacques Bensimon, the undisputed King of bespoke Citrix implementations.  Despised by project managers and equally loved and adored by users for making sure the experience is the best it can be.

Some of you may not agree, but I’m writing this, and *I* say it’s HUGE! 🙂

Microsoft just released a cumulative update to Windows 10 & Server 2016 (KB4457127) that, despite claiming only “quality improvements” and no new features, actually has a pretty major feature as far as I’m concerned:  it is now possible via policy to show/hide specific pages within the (Metro/UWP) Windows Settings app (second screenshot), not just at the top level but rather specific items within the various top-level categories – if all the items in a category are hidden, then the category itself will be hidden.  Nothing like this was previously available as far as I could ever tell, other than simultaneously disabling both Control Panel and the Settings app, which disabled not only the “scary” system config pages but also the innocuous Personalization settings (like colors, backgrounds, etc.).

Things to note:

  1. It appears to require minimum Windows build 1703 (not shown in the Server 2016 screenshot, but on my 1803 workstation), so it probably won’t be effective on the current Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10 LTSB (which are build 1607), but will apply to the upcoming October releases of Server & 10 LTSC (1809/1810 ??)
  2. The policy setting is available under both Computer and User Settings – unclear which takes precedence.
  3. The policy setting is a free-form text field that must start with either “showonly:” or “hide:” (its two distinct modes – apparently not mix & match) followed immediately by a semi-colon-delimited list of “page identifiers” (coming up with the right identifiers may turn out to be the tricky part – they’re described as the “page URIs” without the leading “ms-settings:” — the example they give is “showonly:about;Bluetooth”). 

You can find a comprehensive list of “ms-settings:” URIs below (note that some may only exist in certain Windows builds, as you can guess from the regular appearance of new Settings pages in the GUI):