How to configure Control Panel shortcuts in Windows 11


The Control Panel has been part of Windows since 1985. For decades Microsoft has gradually extended this panel with new applets. However, that trend ended when Microsoft released Windows 8, which was the first platform in its series to include the Settings app.

Although Microsoft is now expanding the Settings application, the Control Panel remains in Windows 11. As it still includes many useful applets and options, it is worth setting up a Control Panel shortcut. You can establish shortcuts on the Control Panel desktop, Start menu, taskbar, and context menu in Windows 11 with the methods below.

How to add a Control Panel shortcut to the desktop

The Windows desktop is where many users use shortcuts. There are two ways to add a Control Panel icon to the desktop. One way is to select a Control Panel shortcut through the desktop icon settings. However, you can configure a more flexible CP desktop shortcut with the Create Shortcut tool. This is how you can add a Control Panel icon to the desktop via the Create Shortcut window.

  1. Right-click an area of ​​the desktop to select New and Shortcut from the context menu.
  2. Grab % windir% System32 control.exe in the location text box and select Following proceed.
    The Create Shortcut window
  3. Enter Control Panel in the shortcut name text box.
  4. Select the To finish option.

You can now click on your new shortcut on the CP desktop to open the Control Panel. It will have a Control Panel icon by default. However, you can choose a different one by right-clicking the shortcut, selecting Properties, and clicking Change icon. Grab % windir% System32 imageres.dll in the Find icons box shown directly below, and press the Enter key. Then you will be able to choose more icons from the default system set. To select Apply to save the new icon settings.


The Change Icon window

Alternatively, you can download new icons from some website sources. The IconArchive site includes a large repository of ICO files. Enter Control Panel in the IconArchive search box to find suitable icons. Choose an icon there, click on its ICO button, then press To safeguard. You can add the downloaded icon by clicking on Browse in the Change Icon for Control Panel Shortcut window.

Control Panel icons on IconArhive

Because you have configured a custom shortcut, you can configure it to open Control Panel as an administrator. To do this, right-click on the desktop icon of the Control Panel and select Properties. Click on Advanced in the Shortcut tab. Then select the Execute as administrator option displayed directly below, click Okay, and press the Apply button.

The Run as administrator option

How to configure a control panel keyboard shortcut

If you configure a Control Panel shortcut as shown in the first method, you can apply a keyboard shortcut to it. Then you will have a handy keyboard shortcut that you can press to bring up the Control Panel whenever you need it. You can establish a CP keyboard shortcut like this.

  1. First, add a Control Panel shortcut to the desktop as shown for the first method.
  2. Right click on your desktop shortcut in Control Panel to select its Properties context menu option.
  3. Click inside the Shortcut key box, and press the VS key. Pressing VS will establish a Control + Alt + C keyboard shortcut.
    The shortcut key box
  4. To select Apply to register the new keyboard shortcut.
  5. Click on Okay to exit the window.
  6. Tap the new Ctrl + Alt + C keyboard shortcut to display the Control Panel.

A keyboard shortcut is more convenient than a desktop shortcut because you won’t need to minimize windows to access Control Panel. However, do not remove the Control Panel shortcut on the desktop. You will still need it for the keyboard shortcut to work.

Also read: How to set up your own keyboard shortcuts in Windows 11

How to add a Control Panel shortcut to the Start menu and taskbar

The taskbar and the Start menu are two alternate locations where you can add a Control Panel shortcut. You can add CP shortcuts to these Windows areas with the Pin context menu options. Here’s how to select these options for the Control Panel.

  1. Launch the Windows 11 search tool (click the magnifying glass icon in the taskbar to open it).
  2. Grab Control Panel in the Type here to search text box.
  3. Right click on the Control Panel search result and select Pin to taskbar.
    The Pin to taskbar and Start menu options
  4. To add the Control Panel to the Start menu, select the Pin to start option.

Then you can open the Control Panel by clicking on its new taskbar icon or by selecting the pinned app from the Start menu. Note that you cannot choose to pin the CP to both the taskbar and the Start menu. To remove a pinned Control Panel shortcut, right-click its taskbar or the Start menu icon and select it. Detach option.

The Detach option from the taskbar

Also Read: How To Customize Windows 11 Start Menu

The context menu is what opens when you right-click on a desktop space (or a file, folder, icon, etc.). It’s a good place to add shortcuts, but Windows 11 doesn’t include any built-in options for users to do so. However, you can still add a Control Panel shortcut to the desktop context menu, either by manually editing the registry or with Winaero Tweaker.

Winaero Tweaker is a very cool free personalization app for Windows. This program includes many customization settings for desktop, taskbar, file explorer, connection, shortcuts and context menu. You can add a Control Panel shortcut to the Windows 11 desktop context menu with Winaero Tweaker as follows.

  1. Open the Winaero Tweaker download web page.
  2. Click on Download Winaero Tweaker to save its ZIP archive.
  3. Click on the Winaero ZIP to open it.
  4. Select the Extract all option in the command bar.
    The Extract all option
  5. press the Browse button to choose an extraction path.
  6. Click the checkbox for the View checked out files when done option to select this setting.
    The Extract Compressed (Zipped) Folders window
  7. Select the Extract option.
  8. Double-click on the WinAeroTweaker installer file.
  9. Then go through the installation wizard to install WinAero Tweaker.
  10. Once the software is installed, open the Winaero Tweaker window.
  11. Click it Control Panel context menu option shown below.
    Option Add a control panel to the Winaero Tweaker desktop
  12. Select the Add Control Panel to Desktop Context Menu check box.

You can now select a Control Panel option in the context menu. Note that the option will be in the classic Windows 11 context menu. Right click on the desktop and select Show more options to display the classic menu. Then select the new Control Panel submenu, which includes alternatives Category and Large icons option. Click on Category to open the panel with this view.

The Control Panel context menu option

Also Read: How to Add Software Shortcuts to Windows 11 Desktop Context Menu

Configure new shortcuts and make the control panel more accessible

This is how you can make the Control Panel more accessible in Windows 11. You can make this panel directly accessible from your desktop, the taskbar or the Start menu. You can also add a shortcut for this in the context menu if you prefer. No matter which shortcut you configure, you won’t have to search the Control Panel every time you need it.

A Windows PC on a desktop

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