For those of us who have been with Windows over the years, the Control Panel is a trusted companion that has been with us through thick and thin. There was a time when this was the default location for most system settings. But now things are slowly changing.
Microsoft has been trying to phase out Control Panel for some time now, moving most of its settings to the titular Settings app with a modern look. But the control panel is not yet dead. Even in Windows 11, there are many ways to open Control Panel. Let’s take a look at all of them so that you have a wide choice of options.
9 ways to open Control Panel in Windows 11
Even though the Control Panel is missing from a few key Windows 11 locations, such as the WinX menu, it is still available everywhere else. Microsoft has tried to keep the Control Panel buried in the background, prioritizing its Settings app for everything to do with system settings. But if you’ve ever scrolled down a Settings page and clicked on “Related Options,” you know where it leads – that’s right, Control Panel.
But that’s not the only way to access it. Here are all the ways you can open Control Panel in Windows 11.
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One of the easiest ways to open Control Panel, searching the Start menu is always a reliable way to find apps. All you have to do is press Start and type Control Panel. You’ll see it as the first option as soon as you start typing.
Method # 02: Use RUN
This is easily the easiest method to access Control Panel and one of the few methods that only requires the keyboard. To open the Control Panel from RUN, first press
Win + R to open the RUN window. Then just type control Panel and press Enter.
Related: How to turn off Windows 11 alert sounds
Method # 03: Using Command Prompt or PowerShell
The Control Panel is part of the Windows environment variables, which makes it extremely easy to launch from the command prompt. Here’s how to do it:
Win + R to open the RUN box, type cmd (Where powershell if you are using PowerShell), and press Enter.
This will launch the command prompt. Now just type control Panel and press Enter.
The control panel will open in an instant. The command is also the same for PowerShell (just “control panel”).
Method # 05: Using the File Explorer Address Bar
If for some reason you are not able to access Control Panel from the aforementioned means, don’t worry. The Control Panel is almost ubiquitous (albeit well hidden) in Windows. It is even accessible from the file explorer. Here’s how:
Win + E to open File Explorer or select it from the taskbar.
Then click on the first arrow in the address bar.
To select Control Panel.
Method # 06: Using Search in Settings
The Windows Settings app wouldn’t really be a “settings” app if it didn’t house its predecessor. To access Control Panel from Windows settings, first press
Win + I to open the latter. Then click on the search bar.
Type control Panel and select it when the option is presented.
Method # 07: Using Task Manager
If you can’t access other areas of your Windows PC, Task Manager can always come to the rescue. Just press
Ctrl + Shift + Esc simultaneously to open it.
Click on To file in the upper left corner.
To select Perform a new task.
In the ‘Create a new task’ window, type control Panel and click Okay.
Method # 08: Using control.exe in File Explorer
You can also access the control panel executable file from the system drive. To do this, go to the following address:
Here look for control.exe and double click on it to open the Control Panel.
Method # 09: Using Windows Tools
Windows has a built-in application called “Windows Tools” which bundles administration, troubleshooting, and management tools. Much like Control Panel, Windows tools are slowly becoming obsolete and could soon face the ax. Till this day, you can still access it and find the Control Panel there. Here’s how:
Press Start and search Windows Tools. Select the first option that appears.
In the “Windows Tools” window, double-click Control Panel to run it.
If you use Control Panel frequently and want to access it more easily, there are several ways to add it where you want it. This first method brings the Control Panel back to the File Explorer navigation pane (where it was previously). Here’s how to do it:
Win + E to open File Explorer. Then click on the ellipsis button at the top.
To select Options.
This will open the “Folder Options”. Click on the Seen tab to access it.
Then scroll through “Advanced settings” and check Show all files.
Click on Okay.
You will now see the Control Panel appear in the left navigation pane.
Another easier way to easily access the Control Panel is to pin it to the Start menu or taskbar, whichever you prefer. Here’s how to do it.
Press Start and search control Panel.
Then right-click on the Control Panel application. You will have the possibility either Pin to start Where Pin to taskbar.
If you select Pin on Start, the Control Panel will appear at the end of the Pinned Apps page on the Start menu. To view it, right-click on the pinned “Control Panel” and select Move up.
The Control Panel will become the first application in the list of applications in the Start menu.
If it’s pinned to the taskbar, it will appear in the taskbar as such.
In practice, you can pin it to both locations if you want.
How to add a control panel to the desktop
If you don’t want to clutter up your taskbar or the Start menu, you can always add Control Panel to the desktop. Here are a few ways to do it.
Method # 01: Using Personalization Settings
Right click on the desktop and select Personalize.
On the Personalization Settings page, click Themes on the right.
Then scroll down and select Desktop icon settings.
In the “Desktop icons” configuration window, check the box next to Control Panel.
Then click Okay to confirm.
The control panel will now be placed on the desktop.
Method # 02: Use a desktop shortcut
You can also manually create a desktop shortcut for Control Panel. To do this, right click on the desktop and select New > Shortcut.
In the “Create shortcut” window, enter the following location:
Click on Next.
Give this shortcut a name (for example, Control Panel) and click To finish.
Your shortcut will now be created
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Given Microsoft’s plan to phase out Control Panel, there are many queries surrounding it and its use. We’ll cover a few below:
How to open Control Panel in Windows 11 with keyboard?
If your mouse or trackpad isn’t working, you can still open the Control Panel with the keyboard alone. This is done from the RUN window and the search for the Start menu. Refer to the first two methods in our guide above for how.
Does Windows get rid of Control Panel?
Even though Microsoft hasn’t explicitly set out its plans for the Control Panel, it’s clear what they are. Since the introduction of the Windows Settings app with Windows 8, the Control Panel has been minimized and relegated to the background. However, as it is, it looks like the phased removal didn’t go well for Windows and the Control Panel will continue to work on Windows 11 as well.
What is the shortcut to open Control Panel?
There is no keyboard shortcut to open Control Panel. However, the fastest way to open it is to open the RUN window (Win + R), by typing control, and pressing Enter (as shown in the guide above). Either that or by looking for it in the Start menu.
These are all the ways you can open Control Panel on Windows 11. It will take some time for Microsoft to phase it out and transfer its operations to the Settings app, so that you can continue to use Control Panel for a while. some time yet. But, at the end of the day, we all have to come to terms with the inevitable Control Panel death that Microsoft has been planning for some time now. We hope it’s much later than sooner.