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Get Quick Access to Windows 7 Control Panel

  adfm's Photo
Posted May 12 2010 03:58 PM

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.

Many windows are buried several levels deep in Control Panel, so it can be a bit of a pain to make your way around the program, particularly if you need to return to the same spot often.


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

Attached Image

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

Command line

Action Center


Administrative Tools

explorer.exe\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Administrative Tools

Advanced System PropertiesAdvanced tab


Advanced System PropertiesComputer Name tab

sysdm.cpl or SystemPropertiesComputerName.exe

Advanced System PropertiesAdvanced tabPerformance OptionsData Execution Prevention tab


Advanced System PropertiesHardware tab


Advanced System PropertiesAdvanced tabPerformance Options


Advanced System PropertiesSystem Protection tab


Advanced System PropertiesRemote tab


Backup and Restore


Bluetooth Devices


Color Management


Color ManagementAdvancedCalibrate Display


Date and Time

timedate.cpl or control date/time

Device Manager

devmgmt.msc or hdwwiz.cpl

Devices and Printers

control network or control printers

Disk Management




DisplayScreen Resolution


Ease of Access Center


Ease of Access CenterUse the computer without a mouse or keyboard

control keyboard or control mouse


control fonts

Game Controllers


Internet Options


Mouse Properties

main.cpl or control mouse

Network Connections


Pen and Touch


People Near Me



control desktop

Phone and Modem


Power Options


Programs and Features


Programs and FeaturesTurn Windows features on or off


Region and Language


Set Program Access and Computer Defaults




Sync Center


Task Scheduler


User Accounts

control userpasswords

User Accounts (advanced)

control userpasswords2 or Netplwiz.exe

Volume Mixer


Windows Firewall


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.

Setting Finder

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:

All Settings.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

press Enter, and the name will shorten to All Settings. Open the new folder to show an alphabetical list of all Control Panel settings, like the one shown in Figure 2.8.

Figure 2.8. This alphabetical list of Control Panel settings is hidden by default

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Windows 7 Annoyances

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.

See what you'll learn

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1 Reply

  SatcomNerd's Photo
Posted Sep 27 2012 07:14 PM


Is there a registry key that contains a list of all the GUIDs contained within the "All Tasks/All Settings" folder? I am trying to find a way to access those, since the GUID for All settings remains the same from Vista to 8, programmatically but the only references to that GUID in the registry, that I can find, do not list any other GUIDs.