Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated January 22, 2018)
The Control Panel is the traditional heart and soul of Windows. That has been changing over time, though, beginning with Windows 8. With that version, Microsoft introduced the PC Settings screen, and that approach was continued and even expanded in Windows 10.
That doesn't change the fact, though, that sometimes you just have to get to the Control Panel. If you are a longtime user of Windows, you may find it more efficient (or comfortable) to skip PC Settings and simply use the Control Panel. Plus, you can change quite a bit more in the Control Panel than you can in PC Settings.
How you start up the Control Panel depends on the version of Windows you are using. Once the Control Panel is displayed, you can then select which options, programs, or applications you want to work with.
Displaying the Control Panel in Windows 7 couldn't be simpler or faster. All you need to do is click on the Start button and then click the Control Panel option. Presto! You are right where you want to be!
If you want to work with the Control Panel in Windows 8, Microsoft provided a good number of ways to get there. Most of the access methods involve first displaying the Desktop, then you can use one of the following techniques:
Finally, you can also display the Control Panel if you are using the mouse by moving the mouse pointer into the very bottom-left corner of the screen. Once the small icon appears that allows you to switch between the Start screen and the Desktop, right-click to display a Context menu. Select Control Panel from the menu and you are off and running!
Microsoft removed quite a few of the Control Panel access methods from Windows 10 that you could previously use in Windows 8. The best, most consistent way I've found to get to the Control Panel is to use the search area to search for "control panel" (whether you use the quote marks or not is up to you). That should return what Microsoft now calls the Control Panel app but is, in reality, the Control Panel you've come to know and sometimes love.
This tip (5226) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.
The desktop is designed to hold all your most commonly accessed programs, files, and folders. If you access the Control ...Discover More
The Control Panel is the heart of Windows. It allows you to change how Windows operates and how it communicates with the ...Discover More
The Control Panel is an important "dashboard" that leads you to various system-related applications. There are a few ways ...Discover More