How would you like quick access to the settings in Control Panel on Windows 7? The following excerpt from David A. Karp's Windows 7 Annoyances will show you how to access buried settings and hide unwanted Control Panel icons.
A lot of the clicking and scrounging in this book takes place in Control Panel, a window that provides links to many settings that affect the way Windows looks, sounds, and behaves. It’s a hodge-podge of modern web-like pages and older tabbed dialog windows. Some of the dialog windows date back more than a decade to Windows 95, and are still present either to maintain compatibility with add-ons (like extra tabs in the Mouse Properties window) or merely because Microsoft doesn’t want to invest the resources to update or replace all their dialogs. As a result, it can be hard to find specific settings in Control Panel.
Want to make a quick and dirty shortcut to a Control Panel
window? Just open Control Panel and Windows Explorer side-by-side, and
drag any green link from Control Panel into your
Favorites folder. (Note that blue-colored
links on most Control Panel pages can’t be dragged.)
Or, drag any green link from Control Panel onto the Control Panel taskbar button and when it says Pin to Control Panel, let go. Then, click the Control Panel taskbar button and hold down the mouse button while dragging upwards (or just right-click), and then select your location from the Pinned section at the top of the jump list (see Figure 2.7).
Figure 2.7. Drag a folder onto the Windows Explorer taskbar button to add it to its jump list, and then click-slide to open the folder
Unfortunately, Control Panel only lets you create shortcuts by dragging the green-colored links. To provide quick access to almost any page or window in Control Panel, you’ll need to use the old-school command-line syntax (around since the days of Windows 3.x in the early 1990s, if you can believe it):
\windows\system32\control.exe sysdm.cpl, 3
which opens the Advanced tab in
the Advanced System Properties window, normally found on the System page. Note that, unlike
previous versions, you need to specify the full path of
control.exe. Or, for some windows, you can
use this standalone executable to accomplish the same thing:
For a list of these shortcuts, see Table 2.1.
Not all Control Panel pages can be opened from the command line. For those tools not listed in Table 2.1 you can make a Windows shortcut by typing the name of the tool in the Start menu Search box, and then dragging the icon from the search results to a folder somewhere. Thereafter you can run the shortcut from the command line.
Table 2.1. Command-line access to Control Panel pages and tools
Control Panel page
Advanced System Properties→Advanced tab
Advanced System Properties→Computer Name tab
Advanced System Properties→Advanced tab→Performance Options→Data Execution Prevention tab
Advanced System Properties→Hardware tab
Advanced System Properties→Advanced tab→Performance Options
Advanced System Properties→System Protection tab
Advanced System Properties→Remote tab
Backup and Restore
Color Management→Advanced→Calibrate Display
Date and Time
Devices and Printers
Ease of Access Center
Ease of Access Center→Use the computer without a mouse or keyboard
Pen and Touch
People Near Me
Phone and Modem
Programs and Features
Programs and Features→Turn Windows features on or off
Region and Language
Set Program Access and Computer Defaults
User Accounts (advanced)
Does it take an inordinately long time to show Control Panel in the Small icons or Large icons view? It’s possible that an application you’ve installed made use of a specific “legacy” feature that lets you hide certain Control Panel icons; see the sidebar, next, for details.
Wouldn’t it just be easier if you could list all the pages and subpages and windows and settings in Control Panel in one alphabetized list? There would be no hunting for settings, clicking from one page to the next, and no guesswork. Strange as it sounds, such a list is built into Windows 7, but it’s nowhere to be found in Control Panel.
In any folder or on the desktop, create a new folder and type the following for its name:
press Enter, and the name
will shorten to
Open the new folder to show an alphabetical list of all Control Panel
settings, like the one shown in Figure 2.8.
Learn more about this topic from Windows 7 Annoyances.
Windows 7 may be faster and more stable than Windows Vista, but that's a far cry from problem-free. With Windows 7 Annoyances, you'll learn how to deal with a wide range of nagging problems before they deal with you. Annoyances.org founder David Karp offers you the tools to fix all sorts of Windows 7 issues, along with solutions, hacks, and timesaving tips to make the most of your PC.