Control Panel

The Control Panel is a section in Microsoft Windows that enables a user to modify the computer's settings. Changing the mouse settings, display settings, sound settings, and keyboard settings are just a few of the examples of what can be modified in the Control Panel. Below is an example of what the Microsoft Windows Control Panel may look.

How to get into the Control Panel
Adding or removing icons in Windows Control Panel
Unable to find icons in 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 an icon in the Control Panel, in the top-right corner of the Control Panel is a search that can help you to find what you are trying to find.

Windows Vista and 7 users

  1. Click Start
  2. Click Control Panel. If successful, you should have a window that resembles the picture.

Microsoft Windows 7 Control Panel
Microsoft Windows 7 Control Panel

Tip: If you are having trouble finding an icon in Control Panel, in the top-right corner of the Control Panel is a search that can help you to find what you are trying to find.

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

In Microsoft Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, or XP open the Control Panel by following the steps below.

  1. Click Start
  2. Click Settings
  3. Clicking the Control Panel.  If successful, you should have a window that resembles one of the pictures below.

Microsoft Windows XP Control Panel
Microsoft Windows XP Control Panel

Microsoft Windows 98 Control Panel
Microsoft Windows 98 Control Panel

Windows Classic View vs. Windows Category View

Windows XP introduced two different views of the Control Panel the "Classic View" and "Category View" that are switched to by clicking the link in the top left section of the Control Panel window. By Default Windows displays the Control Panel in Category view, which displays the main categories of the Control Panel and when one of these categories is clicked display related Control Panel icons. For example, when clicking on the "Appearance and Themes" category you'll be able to adjust the theme, background, screen saver, and screen resolution.

When switching to the "Classic View" the Control Panel looks like previous versions of Windows and give you quick access to all the main categories of Windows.

Related information

Tip: Open Control Panel icons from Internet Explorer by typing Control Panel\<name of Control Panel item>. For example, if you wanted to open the system properties from Control Panel you could type Control Panel\System.

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.

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