What is .CPL and How to Leverage To Create Control Panel Shortcuts


Every now and then I came across instructions, how-to articles with steps containing .cpl ending actions. If you do too and are wondering what it is, wonder no more. This post is going to show you what this .cpl is and how it works.

CPL are control panel extensions that can be executed to launch a specific settings on your computer. You can give it a try right now from your start menu type appwiz.cpl which will launch Add or Remove Programs properties directly without going through the control panel.

You might heard of the Windows 7 Hacker Mode (aka Windows 7 God Mode). That’s essentially just a trick to make all the settings available in one window. CPL extensions are similar but very different with the Hacker Mode.

List of Useful .cpl extensions for Create Shortcuts

Here is a list of the most common .cpl extensions you can use. /via Microsoft/

File name      Purpose
Access.cpl     Accessibility properties
Appwiz.cpl     Add/Remove Programs properties
Desk.cpl       Display properties
FindFast.cpl   FindFast
Inetcpl.cpl    Internet properties
Intl.cpl       Regional Settings properties
Joy.cpl        Joystick properties
Main.cpl       Mouse, Fonts, Keyboard, and Printers properties
Mlcfg32.cpl    Microsoft Exchange or Windows Messaging properties
Mmsys.cpl      Multimedia properties
Modem.cpl      Modem properties
Netcpl.cpl     Network properties
Odbccp32.cpl   Data Sources (32-bit ODBC, included w/ Microsoft Office)
Password.cpl   Password properties
Sticpl.cpl     Scanners and Cameras properties
Sysdm.cpl      System properties and Add New Hardware wizard
Themes.cpl     Desktop Themes 
TimeDate.cpl   Date/Time properties
Wgpocpl.cpl    Microsoft Mail Post Office

Pretty cool right? I thought that’s genius to including such function, which saves tons of time when you are on the phone remotely navigating your computer, or troubleshooting a computer issue. This will save all the time looking for a specific setting on your computer.

Here is an Example of using .cpl extension to Create Shortcuts

Right click any empty area, you will have an option to create Shortcut. Type one of the .cpl extension from above (ex. appwiz.cpl)

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Give it a descriptive name.

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Try it out!

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By double-clicking the shortcut, it launches the add or remove programs from Control Panel, which is going to save you at least a couple of clicking steps to get to the right place. It’s also precise and accurate. You don’t need to rely on the search result from Windows start menu because it always returns the correct item you might looking for.


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