If you’ve ever tried to make changes to your Windows PC settings, from tasks like installing a new font or adjusting how folders and files display, you’ve probably followed instructions that tell you to go to Windows’ “Control Panel”.
What is the Windows Control Panel? How do you access it? And what does it let you do?
Control Panel is a part of Windows OS that lets you view and change basic settings and controls. This is where you can add and remove hardware, software, user accounts, and change many options and settings of your computer.
Now, many of these settings can be accessed in multiple other ways, but Control Panel collects them all in one place if you’re not sure how to find them.
This overview of Control Panel will be mostly concerned with Windows 7 and prior. In Windows 8 and Windows 10, Control Panel is partially deprecated by its successor, the Settings app. For example, adding and removing user accounts was moved exclusively to Settings in Windows 10, and is no longer available in Control Panel.
How to access Control Panel in Windows 7
In Windows 7 and prior versions of Windows, you can easily access the Control Panel.
- Go to Start on the toolbar.
- Choose Control Panel.
How to access Control Panel / PC Settings in Windows 8 and 8.1
There are multiple ways to access the Control Panel in Windows 8, and the method with the least hassle – and less clicking, typing, and swiping – is to just right-click on the Start button (or “hot corner”) in the bottom left corner.
Then select Control Panel from the menu that appears!
Accessing Control Panel and PC Settings from the Charms bar
- Move your cursor to the top right or bottom right corner, or swipe your finger on a touchscreen from the right to the left, to pop out the Charms bar.
- Choose Settings.
- Choose Control Panel.
- If you need options that have been moved from Control Panel to the new PC Settings (or just Settings) app, then choose Change PC settings from this same menu.
How to access Control Panel / Settings in Windows 10
In Windows 10, you can quickly find Control Panel by searching for it on the Start Menu.
Then, once you’ve found it, you can Pin it, but right clicking and choosng Pin to Start. This makes it easier and even faster to find next time!
And that’s it!
That’s how to find the Windows Control Panel, so you can start using it.
In the coming months, we’ll be featuring tech tips that show you how to use many of the settings and configuration tools available in the Control Panel!