Accessing the Windows 10 Control Panel from File Explorer is possible with a registry hack and specific code. We explain in detail how to use both.
In an effort to make Windows 10 more user-friendly, Microsoft decided to move many common configuration options to the Settings menu, while burying the old Windows Control Panel at the bottom of menus and search boxes. While this layout works in most situations, there are times when a user simply has access to Control Panel.
There are several tweaks and tricks that one can use to make the Windows 10 control panel easily accessible. Perhaps one of the most useful is to add Control Panel access to the list of available drives and services located in Windows 10 File Explorer. This requires a delicate adjustment of the Windows file registry and a specific knowledge of class identifiers (CLSID).
This tutorial will explain how to add Control Panel access to Windows 10 File Explorer using a Windows File Registry hack.
SEE: TechRepublic Premium editorial calendar: IT policies, checklists, toolkits and research to download (TechRepublic Premium)
How to add Control Panel to Windows 10 File Explorer
Disclaimer: Editing the Windows registry file is serious business. A corrupted Windows registry file could render your computer unusable, requiring reinstallation of Windows 10 operating system and potential loss of data. Back up the Windows 10 registry file and create a valid restore point before continuing.
To add Control Panel access to File Explorer, we need to edit the Windows 10 registry file. Type “regedit” in the search box on the Windows 10 desktop and select the appropriate result. Use the left navigation bar (Figure A) in Regedit to find this specific key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SOFTWARE Microsoft Windows CurrentVersion Explorer MyComputer
We need to create a new key in the NameSpace folder. Right click on the NameSpace folder and select New then Key in the context menu, as shown in Number B.
Now you need to enter one of these two CLSID codes in the key you just created.
This CLSID code will add access to the Windows 10 Control Panel Category View as shown in Figure C:
This CLSID code will add access to the large icons view of the Windows 10 Control Panel as shown in Number D:
Which control pane view you want to add is arbitrary and is entirely up to you.
Enter the desired CLSID code, then exit it from Regedit.
Open Windows 10 File Explorer on the This PC folder and you will now have direct access to the Control Panel located under the Devices and readers section, as shown in Figure E.
Since Access to Control Panel is part of File Explorer, you can right-click the Control Panel button and pin the link to Control Panel to your Quick Access List, like indicated in Figure F.
You can also pin Control Panel to the Start menu, if you want.
Adding Windows 10 Control Panel access to File Explorer will save you time and possibly frustration when trying to troubleshoot a configuration setting or device driver issue.