Displaying the Control Panel

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.

Windows 7

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!

Windows 8

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:

  • If you are running Windows on a touch-screen system, swipe from the right side of the screen towards the left. This displays the Charms bar at the right side of the screen. Click on Settings, then on Control Panel.
  • If you are using a mouse to work with Windows, move the mouse pointer to the very upper-right or lower-right corners of the screen. This displays the Charms bar at the right side of the screen. Click on Settings, then on Control Panel.
  • If you prefer to use the keyboard, press Win+C. Windows displays the Charms bar at the right side of the screen. Click on Settings, then on Control Panel.

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!

Windows 10

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.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is 3 + 9?

2018-01-22 13:43:30

Henry Noble

in the most recent version of Win10, in the Win+X Start Menu, "Control Panel" has been replaced by "Settings". Thus Allen's suggestion to do a search for "Control Panel" is apt.

If you use Control Panel a lot, at the moment, it still is possible to get Control Panel on the Desktop by checking the appropriate box in Settings > Personalization > Themes > Desktop Icon Settings.

Or, browse to \Windows\System32 and send to the Desktop a shortcut for Control.exe.

https://www.techrepublic.com/article/access-the-traditional-control-panel-lost-in-windows-10-creators-update/ provides a good look at what is going on.

2018-01-22 13:02:06

Edgard Kniriem

Hi Allen.
I think it's easyer : run/ control.exe.

2018-01-22 07:00:46


Another way of getting to the Control Panel in Windows 10 is to left click the start button, go to the "W" section of programs, click Windows System, and finally click Control Panel. If you use the control panel often, you can move it to the block of programs that come up on the right when you left click the start button. If you really want to get to it quickly, you can make a copy of the icon from there to place the Control Panel on your desk top.

An associated little trick: to get to the "W" section of programs quickly, click whatever lettered section shows up when you left click the start button (usually it is the "A" section so click the "A" and a new menu will appear with all of the lettered sections currently in use. Then click "W" on this menu and you are instantly sent to the "W" section).

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