4 Different Ways to Open Control Panel in Windows

Control Panel is a dashboard in Windows that hosts a long list of applets that controls your Windows experience. Even though it seems to be replaced by the Settings app in Windows 10 I don’t see its core functions will ever vanished. Since it’s such an important piece to both Windows and user experience, do you know that Microsoft has dumped a number of ways for you to open it easily?

From Keyboard Shortcut

Well, even though I hoped, Microsoft doesn’t actually have a specific keyboard shortcut assigned to take you straight to Control Panel. But here is how you can create one on your own.

On your desktop, create a shortcut that opens Control Panel. Right-click that shortcut and go to Properties. In Shortcut key box, assign any letter you want to use as a keyboard shortcut key. For example, I assigned the letter “c” to this shortcut and in result, when I press Ctrl + Alt + C, it will open Control Panel for me.

Shortcut to Control Panel

In Windows 7 and 8.1, you can always press Windows key, start typing control, and press Enter to launch Control Panel as well. That’s actually what I do most of the times.

Windows 8 - search Windows 8

What about the Run menu? Press Win + R, type in Control, hit Enter, and Control Panel opens.

Run menu to open Control Panel

From Start Menu

In Windows 7, Control Panel is right in the Start Menu. It’s simple like that.

But in Windows 8.1, you will either right-click the Start orb or press Win+X key to get the Win+X menu that has control panel in it.

Win X menu with control panel

What about Windows 10? It’s called Settings and you can find it right in the Start Menu.

From Windows/File Explorer

In Windows 8.1, press Win+E to open File Explorer and you will find that you can open Control Panel right from the Computer ribbon. Heck, you can even Uninstall programs, open System properties dialog, and Computer Manage console right from there too.

Control Panel from File Explorer

In Windows 7, it’s much plainer, just called Open Control Panel on the toolbar.

Control Panel from Windows Explorer

However, you will need to be in This PC in Windows 8.1 or Computer in Windows 7 to be able to see these options.

The God Mode

Right, the God Mode still exists, not only in Windows 7 but also in Windows 8.1 as well. Create a new folder on your desktop and paste in the following text as the name of the folder. That folder immediately becomes a shortcut that takes you right to the complete list of applets in Control Panel.

God Mode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

God Mode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C} - 2015-04-02 14_35_54

You can also create a shortcut with the following text as the location of the item. The nice thing about having a shortcut that does the same thing is that you can pin it onto the Taskbar.

explorer.exe shell:::{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

God Mode shortcut

Last but certainly not least, each Control Panel applet can be launched directly from Win+R (Run) menu. For example, control wuaucple.cpl opens up Windows updates applet, control appwiz.cpl opens Uninstall programs applet, and control netconnections opens Network Connections applet directly. You can see the full Control list here.

Kent Chen

Microsoft MVP, IT Professional, Developer, Geek, and the co-founder of Next of Windows.

Last updated: 04/02/2015

Posted in: Tips & Tricks
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