How to open the Control Panel in the Windows 10 Creators Update

Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system ships with two control panels so to speak. First the classic Control Panel that was part of all recent versions of Windows, and then the Settings control panel which was introduced by the company in Windows 8.

Windows users who run Windows 10 face several challenges in this regard. First, that Microsoft migrates a couple of settings with every release from the classic Control Panel to Settings, and second, that Microsoft removed some links that pointed to the Control Panel in recent versions of Windows 10.

The first issue, that some preferences pages are migrated, is problematic in itself. Users who used to find a particular setting in the Control Panel need to use the Settings application for that now.

Microsoft may have added a link in the classic Control Panel so that users are redirected to the Settings application automatically. Still, having to juggle between two control panels is confusing and complicated.

Tip: if you run Windows 8, check out this guide on opening the Control Panel.

How to open the Control Panel in the Windows 10 Creators Update

windows-x control panel

Some long-standing options to open the Control Panel have been removed in the Windows 10 Creators Update. The most prominent, probably, is the removal of the Control Panel link of the Windows-X menu.

The Windows-X shortcut opens a menu in the area where the start menu is opened usually that links to various important tools or pages.

The Control Panel was listed there before, but Microsoft removed the link in the Windows 10 Creators Update.

This raises the question how you open the classic Control Panel on Windows 10. Here are your options:

Option 1: Windows-Pause

windows pause control panel

The keyboard shortcut Windows-Pause opens the System applet of the Control Panel. You can navigate it then, for instance with a click on Control Panel Home.

Option 2: Use the Run box

run box control panel

Use the keyboard shortcut Windows-R to open the run box of the operating system. Type control panel, and hit the Enter-key afterwards to open the classic Control Panel on the Windows 10 computer.

Tip: You can do the same on the command prompt or PowerShell.

Option 3: Start Menu

start menu control panel

You can open the Control Panel by tapping on the Windows-key or clicking on the Start icon, typing Control Panel, and selecting the matching result under programs.

This is the official option according to Microsoft.

Option 4: File Explorer

file explorer control panel

The Control Panel is listed under Folders when you open the "This PC" view of File Explorer.

Advanced options

The following options require some work before they become available. They may be useful however, as they may add links that you can open more comfortably.

Pin to Start or Taskbar

pin control panel

You can pin the Control Panel to the Start Menu. All you have to do is the following for that:

  1. Tap on the Windows-key.
  2. Type Control Panel.
  3. Right-click on the Control Panel result, and select the "pin to Start" option from the context menu.

The control panel is now added as a link to the Windows 10 Start Menu.

Add Control Panel to desktop

desktop control panel

You may add the control panel to the right-click context menu on the desktop. This requires using the Registry Editor. It is recommended that you create a system restore point or backup prior to making the changes:

  1. Tap on the Windows-key, type regedit.exe and hit the Enter-key.
  2. Confirm the UAC prompt.
  3. Navigate to the value Computer\HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\DesktopBackground\Shell\.
  4. Right-click on Shell, and select New > Key.
  5. Name the key Control Panel.
  6. Double-click on the default entry on the right of the newly created key Control Panel, and give it the value @shell32.dll,-4161.
  7. Right-click on the empty space below the default entry, and select New > String.
  8. Name the String icon.
  9. Set its value to control.exe.
  10. Right-click (again) on the empty space below the two entries, and select New > String.
  11. Name the new String Position.
  12. Set its value to Bottom.
  13. Right-click on Control Panel on the left (the key that you created in 4, and select New > Key.
  14. Name the key command.
  15. Double-click on default under command, and set the value to control.exe.

A right-click on the desktop reveals the new Control Panel link that you can use from that moment on (via WinFuture)

Closing Words

You may also use third-party start menu programs such as Classic Shell or Start10. Both support links to the Control Panel by default.

Now You: Do you prefer the Control Panel or the Settings application?

Article Name
How to open the Control Panel in the Windows 10 Creators Update
Find out how to open the classic Control Panel on machines that run the Windows 10 Creators Update, or later versions of Windows 10.
Ghacks Technology News
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Responses to How to open the Control Panel in the Windows 10 Creators Update

  1. chesscanoe April 17, 2017 at 12:47 pm #

    I was not aware of the problem because I've been using Classic Shell for quite a while, and as you point out, it's one of many solutions. Martin, your thoroughness and clarity is much appreciated, as always.

    • Name April 17, 2017 at 11:41 pm #

      It's in windows system in the start menu,or in the other windows setting.I use lubuntu but I have a think center that uses windows and I updated last week.

  2. Davin April 17, 2017 at 2:05 pm #

    In the Creators Update, Microsoft removed the Display & Personalization app from Control Panel because they migrated it into settings. Also, removed the old Windows Defender app as Microsoft includes a new redesigned Windows Defender in the Creators Update

  3. Marla April 17, 2017 at 3:39 pm #

    The shortcut Windows + x is still working in the creators-update

    • Martin Brinkmann April 17, 2017 at 3:44 pm #

      Right, but the Control Panel link is not part of the menu anymore.

  4. klarkkent April 17, 2017 at 4:07 pm #

    "Martin - Do you prefer the Control Panel or the Settings application?"

    I don't really care, I use settings just as well, as I did the old Control Panel, so no preference, for me. My wife and daughters prefer Control Panel, so the shortcuts and registry hack works out great for them. Thank you for an excellent how-to article!

  5. pHROZEN gHOST April 17, 2017 at 6:49 pm #

    Put control panel on the desktop.

    1) right click the desktop, pick new and then shortcut.
    2) enter the name control.exe
    3) save this.

    Click and you have control panel.

    • pHROZEN gHOST April 17, 2017 at 11:20 pm #

      I just installed the BIG update and my shortcut still works :-)

    • Mark Newman April 18, 2017 at 4:55 am #

      Best reply ever! Simple and effective! And it works in the latest edition of Windows (creators bollocky version.)

  6. Yuliya April 17, 2017 at 9:27 pm #

    From best to worst:
    Win32 Control Panel > 10 metre tall pile of shite > and another one > UWP Settings

  7. niKo April 18, 2017 at 11:35 am #

    You can also use Show/hide common desktop icons snap-in accessible from Setting - Personalization - Themes

  8. Gaz April 19, 2017 at 1:17 pm #

    "15. Double-click on standard under command, and set the value to control.exe."

    There isn't a 'standard' listed under 'command'!!

    You state to create a new key called 'command' so how can the next step be to double click on something called 'standard' underneath it when the 'command' key has only just been created??

    Please explain!!

  9. Gaz April 19, 2017 at 1:40 pm #

    "15. Double-click on standard under command, and set the value to control.exe."

    There isn't a 'standard' listed under 'command'!!

    I think you mean to say double click on the newly created 'command' key and change the value of the '(Default)' string to 'control.exe'

    We don't want people getting confused now do we :)

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