Control Panel

The Control Panel is a section of Microsoft Windows that enables a user to change various computer hardware and software features. Settings for the mouse, display, sound, network, and keyboard represent just a few examples of what may be modified in the Control Panel. The following sections contain helpful information on the Microsoft Windows Control Panel.

How to get into the Control Panel

Windows 8 users
Windows Vista and 7 users
Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, and XP users
Control Panel from MS-DOS
Windows 3.x users

Windows 8 users

  1. Move the mouse to the bottom left corner of the screen and right-click.
  2. In the power user menu click 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.

Windows Vista and 7 users

  1. Click Start
  2. Click Control Panel on the right-hand side of the window that appears.
  3. If successful, you should see a window similar to the following image.

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.

Microsoft Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, XP users

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

Microsoft Windows XP Control Panel
Microsoft Windows XP Control Panel

Microsoft Windows 98 Control Panel
Microsoft Windows 98 Control Panel

Accessing Control Panel from the Windows command line (MS-DOS)

Use the control command to open the Control Panel as well as many of the Control Panel icons from the command line.

Windows 3.x users

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

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; showing broader categories instead of every individual icon. For example, clicking the Appearance and Themes allows the user to adjust the theme, background, screen saver, and screen resolution. Users may switch between them by clicking the link in the top left-hand section of the Control Panel window.

Related information

Also see: Add/Remove programs, Control, cPanel, Operating system terms