How to add or remove icons in Windows Control Panel

Updated: 12/09/2018 by Computer Hope
adding removing icons

The Control Panel is one of the most important parts of your Microsoft Windows system. If you'd like to customize which icons appear in your Control Panel, continue reading for suggested methods.


If you're running Windows ME, XP or later, we recommend that you do not customize your Control Panel icons. Instead, we suggest that Control Panel be configured to show icons in Classic View.


Microsoft Windows XP and later revisions of Windows users can enable and remove Control Panel icons with the TweakUI program.

After TweakUI has been installed, check, and uncheck the icons you want or do not want to display in the Windows Control Panel under the Control Panel section.

Adding Control Panel icons

Users can add a Windows Control Panel icon by installing the software program or hardware device related to the icon. If doing this does not install an icon into the Windows Control Panel that is either listed in the below chart or has been present in the past, follow the steps below.

  1. Reinstall the software program or hardware device associated with the program. During reinstallation, the necessary .CPL file is copied back onto the computer.
  2. Manually copy, expand, and extract the .cpl file back into the Windows System or System 32 directory.

Unless your software program or hardware device has a .cpl file associated with it, the program will not create an icon in your Control Panel.

Manually running a Windows Control Panel .cpl file

If you are unfamiliar with what each .CPL file does, try one of the following suggestions.

  1. Manually execute many of the .CPL files by typing control <name of .cpl file>.cpl. See the control command page for additional information and help with this command.
  2. Users can also use the rundll32 file to open the Control Panel icons. Below is an example of how a user would open the Date/Time Properties window using the rundll32 file. If you want to run an alternate .cpl file, replace the TimeDate.cpl with a different .cpl file.
rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL TimeDate.cpl

Hiding Control Panel icons

If you want to hide an icon from being displayed in the Control Panel, you can delete or move the icon as explained in the steps below or hide the icon by editing the control.ini file.

Removing Windows Control Panel icons

Using the Microsoft find utility, users can locate all .cpl files on their computer.

Once all the .cpl files have been found, locate the file associated with your icon and delete the file or move it to an alternate location.

Files associated with Control Panel icons

Below is a small chart of the available files and their associated Control Panel icons. Note that not all of the files or icons below are available in all versions of Microsoft Windows. They may be missing because the associated hardware device, software program, or other setting is not installed. Icons that have an asterisk in the availability section indicate that third-party software must be installed before the icon is displayed.

Control Panel Icon Associated file 95/98/ME NT 2000/XP Vista/7/8
AC3 Filter ac3filter.cpl *

Accessibility Options


Yes Yes Yes
Add/Remove Hardware hdwwiz.cpl Yes Yes Yes Yes

Add/Remove Programs


Yes Yes Yes Yes
Adobe Gamma adobe gamma.cpl * * *
Automatic Updates wuaucpl.cpl Yes

MS-DOS Console





Yes Yes Yes Yes
DirectX directx.cpl *



Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fax fax.cpl Yes Yes

Find Fast


Yes Yes
Firewall firewall.cpl Yes Yes

Fonts / Mouse / Keyboard / Printers Properties


Yes Yes Yes Yes




Intel Pro Set



Internet properties


Yes Yes Yes
Infrared Settings properties irprops.cpl Yes
Java Control Panel jpicpl32.cpl *
Java plug-in x.x.x - This icon and its associated file changes by version. plugincplx_x.cpl * * * *
Joystick Properties or Game Controllers. joy.cpl Yes Yes Yes Yes







Mail and Fax


Microsoft Mail Post Office wgpocpl.cpl Yes



Yes Yes
Multimedia / Sounds mmsys.cpl Yes Yes Yes Yes
Network Connections properties ncpa.cpl Yes Yes Yes
Network Properties netcpl.cpl Yes
Nview Desktop Manager nvtuicpl.cpl *
ODBC32 odbc32.cpl Yes Yes Yes
Passwords password.cpl Yes Yes Yes
PCCard devapps.cpl Yes
Ports ports.cpl Yes
Power Options properties powercfg.cpl Yes Yes
QuickTime quicktime.cpl * * *
Regional Settings intl.cpl Yes Yes Yes Yes
Scanners and Cameras sticpl.cpl Yes
Security Center wscui.cpl Yes Yes
Services and Devices srvmgr.cpl Yes
SCSI Adapters devapps.cpl Yes
Server srvmgr.cpl Yes
Speech Properties sapi.cpl Yes
System Properties sysdm.cpl Yes Yes Yes
Tape Devices devapps.cpl Yes
Telephony or Phone and Modem Options Properties. telephon.cpl Yes Yes Yes
TweakUI tweakui.cpl * * *
UPS ups.cpl Yes
User Accounts properties nusrmgr.cpl Yes
VirusScan avsmcpa.cpl * * * *

Microsoft Windows stores information about each of the icons that are shown in the Control Panel in files with the .CPL extension. If these files are present and not corrupted, Microsoft Windows displays these icons, otherwise, these icons will not be visible. The Control Panel files can be in the C:\Windows\System, C:\Windows\System32, or C:\Winnt\system32 folders once new hardware or software is installed.

Additional information