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
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
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
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
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
The Control Panel is listed under Folders when you open the "This PC" view of File Explorer.
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
You can pin the Control Panel to the Start Menu. All you have to do is the following for that:
- Tap on the Windows-key.
- Type Control Panel.
- 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
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:
- Tap on the Windows-key, type regedit.exe and hit the Enter-key.
- Confirm the UAC prompt.
- Navigate to the value Computer\HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\DesktopBackground\Shell\.
- Right-click on Shell, and select New > Key.
- Name the key Control Panel.
- Double-click on the default entry on the right of the newly created key Control Panel, and give it the value @shell32.dll,-4161.
- Right-click on the empty space below the default entry, and select New > String.
- Name the String icon.
- Set its value to control.exe.
- Right-click (again) on the empty space below the two entries, and select New > String.
- Name the new String Position.
- Set its value to Bottom.
- Right-click on Control Panel on the left (the key that you created in 4, and select New > Key.
- Name the key command.
- 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)
Now You: Do you prefer the Control Panel or the Settings application?