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How to open the Windows Control Panel

Windows 10
Windows 8 and 8.1
Windows Vista and 7
Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, and XP
Windows command line
Windows 3.x

How to open the Control Panel in Windows 10

  1. While on the Windows Desktop, press the Windows key + X to open the Power User Menu.
  2. Select Control Panel in the menu.
  3. Once open you should see a screen similar to the example below.

Windows 10 Control Panel

Tip: If you are having trouble finding a specific icon, there is a search box in the top right-hand corner of the Control Panel window.

How to open the Control Panel in Windows 8 and 8.1

  1. Move the mouse to the bottom left corner of the screen and right-click.
  2. In the Power User Menu, select Control Panel.

Tip: If you are having trouble finding a specific icon, there is a search box in the top right-hand corner of the Control Panel window.

How to open the Control Panel in Windows Vista and 7

  1. On the Windows desktop screen, click the Start button.
  2. Click Control Panel on the right-hand side of the start menu.
  3. You may see a window similar to the following image. You may also see the expanded version of the Control Panel, with icons for all the various utilities available in the Control Panel.

Microsoft Windows 7 Control Panel
Microsoft Windows 7 Control Panel

Tip: If you are having trouble finding a specific icon, there is a search box in the top right-hand corner of the Control Panel window.

How to open the Control Panel in Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, and XP

  1. Click Start.
  2. Click Settings, then Control Panel.
  3. You should have a window that resembles one of the following images.

Microsoft Windows XP Control Panel
Microsoft Windows XP Control Panel

Windows Classic View vs. Windows Category View

Windows XP introduced two different ways to display the Control Panel: Classic View and Category View. By default, Windows displays the Control Panel in Category View (shown above), listing icons under broad categories rather than each one individually. For example, clicking Appearance and Themes allows you to adjust the theme, background, screen saver, and screen resolution. You can switch between these two views by clicking the link in the top left-hand section of the Control Panel window.

Microsoft Windows 98 Control Panel
Microsoft Windows 98 Control Panel

How to open the Control Panel from the Windows command line

You can use the control command to open the Control Panel, as well as many of the Control Panel icons through the command line.

How to open the Control Panel in Windows 3.x

In Microsoft Windows 3.x you can open the Control Panel window through the Main folder within Program Manager.

Additional information

  • See our Control Panel definition for further information on this term and related links.