How to Open Windows 11 Control Panel (and More)

In this post, you’ll see:

Note: To disable Control Panel, check out this guide’s last section.

Please click or tap on the above link to navigate to the corresponding section.

Here, I’m using Windows 11. Let’s get started.

How to Open Windows 11 Control Panel

Method #1

Start the Control Panel by using the control command in one of the following programs:

  • Task Manager (Click File and then “Run new task” to use this command)

Method #2

Press the keyboard shortcut Windows and I to open Settings.

Type control panel in the search box on the left sidebar. Click “Control Panel” in the search results.

Method #3

Open the Start menu. Type control and click on the Control Panel app in the search results.

Method #4

Open the Start menu. Click the “All apps” button beneath the search box.

Click “Windows Tools” and double-click “Control Panel.”

Method #5

Open the System32 folder, which is within C: > Windows. Double-click the “control” file.

Method #6

Open File Explorer. Click “Arrow” next to the “Quick access” icon in the address bar, then “Control Panel.”

What is the Control Panel?

The Control Panel is a virtual folder with many applet shortcuts. These applets can change the settings of your system.

The Control Panel has three types of views: “Category” (this view has applet shortcuts categorized), “Large icons,” and “Small icons.”

You can right-click on the applet shortcut in the “Large icons” and “Small icons” views. Here, you’ll see a context menu with some or many of these options:

  • Open – Open the applet in the same window. This one does not apply to everyone. File Explorer Options, for example.
  • Open in New Window – Launch the applet in a new window.
  • Pin to Start – Pin applet shortcut to Start menu. You can find the shortcut in the “Pinned” section of the Start menu.
  • Run as administrator – Open the applet as an administrator.
  • Create shortcut – Create a shortcut for an applet shortcut on the desktop.

How to Add Control Panel to Start Menu, Taskbar, Desktop, Right-Click Menu, and Navigation Pane

Start Menu Shortcut

If you want a shortcut in the “Pinned” section of the Start menu, follow these steps:

Open the Start menu. Type control. In the right pane, click the down arrow.

Click the “Pin to Start” option.

If you want a shortcut in the Start menu app list, follow these steps:

Type shell:programs in Run Command and press “Enter.” You’ll see the folder “Windows System.”

Open it, and you’ll find the “Control Panel” shortcut. Copy that.

Click the “Programs” folder in the address bar and paste the shortcut into the “Programs” folder.

A taskbar Shortcut

If you want a shortcut in the taskbar, follow these steps:

Open the Start menu. Type control. Click the down arrow in the right pane.

Click the “Pin to taskbar” option.

Desktop Shortcut

If you want the shortcut on your desktop, follow these steps:

Type ms-settings:themes in Run Command, then press the “Enter” key.

On the right side of the screen, click “Desktop icon settings.”

Select “Control Panel” from the Desktop Icon Settings pop-up window, and click “OK.”

You can now see a shortcut to the Control Panel on your desktop.

How to Add a Control Panel to the Right-Click Menu in Windows 11

Open Registry Editor. I recommend that you take a backup of the Registry before proceeding.

Extend HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT > Directory > Background. Right-click “shell” and select New > Key.

After entering the Control Panel, press the Enter key on the keyboard.

Right-click “Control Panel” and select New > Key. Enter “command” (without double quotes) as the name and press the “Enter” key.

Double-click “Default” in the right pane. Provide the following in the “Value data” field in the pop-up: rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL

Click the OK button. Right-click on the desktop, and the Control Panel will appear in the context menu.

Note: To remove the Control Panel from the context menu, delete the Control Panel created above.

How to Add a Control Panel to the Navigation Pane

Right-click the blank space in the navigation pane. Please click “Show all folders.”

Notes:

  • To remove the Control Panel from the navigation pane, follow the steps above.

How to Hide or Show Specific Control Panel Items

You can do this task in two ways. Choose the one you prefer.

Method #1

Open Registry Editor. I recommend that you back up the Registry before proceeding.

Expand the following keys: HKEY_CURRENT_USER > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Policies.

Click on the Explorer key. Create it if you don’t see it. Here’s how:

Right-click the Policies key, select New > Key, enter the name as Explorer, and press Enter.

To hide certain Control Panel items, follow the steps below:

Right-click the blank space in the right pane and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.

Enter the name as DisallowCpl and press Enter.

Double-click it and enter 1 in the Value data field. Click the OK button.

Right-click the Explorer key. Select New > Key. Enter the name as DisallowCpl and press Enter.

Right-click the blank space in the right pane. Select New > String Value.

Specify the item in the Control Panel you want to hide as the name. Please make sure you’ve typed in the exact name of the item in the Control Panel.

For example, I want to hide the Device Manager, so I must specify the name as Device Manager.

Double-click the String Value you created above. Provide its name in the Value data field.

Click the OK button.

In our scenario, I must enter Device Manager into the Value data field.

Perform the above four steps for all the Control Panel items you want to hide.

Note: To go back, delete the key DisallowCpl and DWORD DisallowCpl.

To display only certain items in the Control Panel, proceed with the following:

In the right pane, right-click the space and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.

Enter the name as RestrictCpl and press Enter.

Double-click it and enter 1 in the Value data field. Click the OK button.

Right-click the Explorer key. Select New > Key.

Enter the name as RestrictCpl and press Enter.

Right-click the blank space in the right pane. Select New > String Value.

Specify the item in the Control Panel you want to display as the name. Remember that you must specify the exact name of the item in the Control Panel.

For example, I want to show Device Manager, so I must specify the name “Device Manager.”

Double-click the String Value you created above. Provide its name in the Value data field and click the OK button.

In our instance, I must provide the Device Manager within the Value data field.

Perform the above four steps for all the Control Panel items you want to view.

Note: To go back, delete the key RestrictCpl and DWORD RestrictCpl.

Method #2

Enter gpedit.msc in the “Run Box” and press Enter.

Navigate to the User Configuration > Administrative Templates. Click on the Control Panel.

To hide certain items in the Control Panel, follow the steps below:

In the right pane, you’ll find “Hide specified Control Panel items.” Double-click it.

Select Enabled. You can see the Show button. Click on it.

Enter the name of the Control Panel items you want to hide. Remember that you must specify the exact name of the Control Panel item and the item name for a line.

Click OK. Click OK. That’s it.

To display only certain items in the Control Panel, follow the steps below:

In the right pane, you’ll find “Show only specified Control Panel items.” Double-click it.

Select Enabled. You can see the Show button. Click on it.

Enter the name of the Control Panel items you want to display. Remember that you must specify the exact name of the Control Panel item and the item name for a line.

Click OK. Click OK. That’s it.

Note: If you want to return, follow the steps above, but choose “Not Configured” or “Disabled.”

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