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Control Panel Vista

Control Panel in Windows Vista

Windows XP Control Panel

Control Panel in Windows XP

Control Panel is a part of the Microsoft Windows graphical user interface which allows users to view and manipulate basic system settings and controls, such as adding hardware, adding and removing software, controlling user accounts, and changing accessibility options. Additional applets can be provided by third party software.

The Control Panel has been an inherent part of the Microsoft Windows operating system since its first release (Windows 1.0), with many of the current applets being added in later versions. Beginning with Windows 95, the Control Panel is implemented as a special folder, i.e. the folder does not physically exist, but only contains shortcuts to various applets such as Add or Remove Programs and Internet Options. Physically, these applets are stored as .CPL files. For example, the Add or Remove Programs applet is stored under the name appwiz.cpl in the system32 folder.

In recent versions of Windows, the Control Panel has two views, Classic View and Category View, and it is possible to switch between these through an option that appears on the left side of the window.

Many of the individual Control Panel applets can be accessed in other ways. For instance, Display Properties can be accessed by right-clicking on an empty area of the desktop and choosing Properties.

Technical Details

The folder's view can be forced to display a Classic or Category view using the following RegKey

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explore\ForceClassicControlPanel
Control Panel

Default View of the Control Panel in Windows Me

Its GUID is {21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D} and it can therefore also be opened by running ::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}\::{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D} and other folders can assume the role of the Control Panel if named Control Panel.{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}.

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