Where is the Control Panel in Windows 10? How do you open the Control Panel? How many ways are there to open it? To answer these questions, we did a bit of testing and experimentation. We had to do that because, in Windows 10, the Control Panel is hidden compared to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. We managed to compile a list of fifteen different ways to open the Control Panel. Let's see all of them, starting with the obvious ones and ending with the geekier methods:
NOTE: We wrote this tutorial using Windows 10 with May 2020 Update. If you are using an older version of Windows 10, some things might look different or might not be working as expected. Check your Windows 10 build and, if necessary, get the latest Windows 10 update available.
1. Open Control Panel in Windows 10 using search
One of the fastest ways to start anything in Windows is to use the search feature. In Windows 10, click or tap on the search box from your taskbar or press the Windows key on your keyboard. Then type "control" and click or tap the "Control Panel" search result or select it and press Open on the right pane.
An alternative yet lengthier way of using search to open the Control Panel in Windows 10 involves the use of the Settings app. Open Settings, then type "control panel" in its search field, and click or tap on the Control Panel in the list of results.
2. Use the Control Panel shortcut from Windows 10's Start Menu
A slightly slower, but straightforward way of opening the Control Panel in Windows 10 is from the Start Menu. Click or tap on the Start button or press the Windows key on your keyboard, and, in the Start Menu, scroll down to the Windows System folder. There you're going to find a Control Panel shortcut: click or tap on it, and the Control Panel is launched.
3. Pin a Control Panel shortcut to your taskbar or Start Menu
To be able to access the Control Panel quickly, you might want to pin a shortcut for it, in a place where you get to see it without effort. Some places where you should consider pinning it are the taskbar or the Start Menu.
To do that in Windows 10, search for the Control Panel as we've shown you in the first method from this tutorial, or navigate to the Control Panel shortcut from the Start Menu apps list. Either way, when you find the Control Panel shortcut, right-click or press and hold on it, and then click or tap on "Pin to taskbar" or "Pin to Start," depending on what you prefer.
4. Add a Control Panel desktop icon
You can also add a Control Panel icon on your desktop. You can find out how to do that in this guide: How to add or remove desktop icons (shortcuts) in Windows 10. If you don't have time to read that tutorial, know that, basically, you have to open the Settings app, go to Personalization, Themes, and then click or tap on "Desktop icon settings." Finally, select the Control Panel desktop icon and press OK.
5. Manually create a Control Panel shortcut wherever you want
In a similar fashion, you can also simply create a shortcut that opens the Control Panel and save it anywhere you want. It can be on your desktop, as well as in a folder. We've detailed the steps for creating a shortcut in this tutorial - the basic steps are: right-click or press and hold on an empty space on your desktop or in a folder, go to New in the contextual menu, and select Shortcut. Then, in the Create Shortcut wizard, point your new shortcut to "%windir%System32control.exe", give it a name (Control Panel, for instance), and save it.
6. Open Control Panel using the shortcut from our collection
If you'd rather get an already-made Control Panel shortcut, know that we've assembled one of the most extensive collections of shortcuts for Windows. Download and extract it, and, inside, find the shortcut for the Control Panel in the "Windows 10 -> Administration Tools" subfolder.
7. Open Control Panel using File Explorer's address bar
An ingenious way to start the Control Panel is to use the File Explorer. Open File Explorer and click or tap on the first caret button from the folder path bar at the top.
In the menu that shows up, select Control Panel to open it.
The Control Panel is now open, and you can use it as required.
8. How to open Control Panel by making File Explorer Show all folders
File Explorer offers yet another easy method to open the Control Panel in Windows 10, using its "Show all folders" option. Open File Explorer's Folder Options window, select the View tab, enable "Show all folders" at the end of the "Advanced settings" list and click or tap on OK.
As soon as you do that, File Explorer shows an entry point for Control Panel in the navigation area. Click or tap on it, and the Control Panel opens.
9. Open Control Panel from the Desktop taskbar toolbar
This method is less intuitive, but the result might please many users. Go to the Desktop and right-click or press and hold on an empty space on the taskbar. Then, go to Toolbars and select Desktop.
This adds a Desktop toolbar to the right side of the taskbar. Click or tap on it and then double-click on the Control Panel to open it.
What is nice about this toolbar is that, if you just hover the mouse cursor on it, it also displays the main sections and shortcuts from the Control Panel. It can be a productive tool for many users.
10. Open Control Panel by running the control.exe file
The executable file for the Control Panel is control.exe. You can find it in the Windows folder in the System32 subfolder. Double-click or tap on it, and Control Panel is launched immediately.
11. How to open Control Panel from the Run window
Press the Win + R keys on your keyboard to open the Run window. Then, type "control" and hit Enter on your keyboard, or press OK.
12. Open Control Panel from Command Prompt or PowerShell
If you like Command Prompt or PowerShell, you should know that the command for starting the Control Panel is control. 🙂 Type control in a Command Prompt or PowerShell window, and then press the Enter key on your keyboard. It immediately launches the Control Panel.
13. How to open Control Panel in Windows 10 from the Task Manager
One other way to open the Control Panel is to use the Task Manager. Launch Task Manager (a quick way to do it is to press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys on your keyboard). If the Task Manager opens up in its compact mode, click or tap on "More details." Then, open its File menu and click or tap on "Run new task."
In the "Create new task" window, type control and press Enter or OK.
14. Open Control Panel using the WinX menu
This method used to work in the first versions of Windows 10, but this changed since Windows 10 Creators Update. Before that, the WinX menu included a Control Panel shortcut by default. Although it's not the case anymore, you can get it back regardless of your Windows 10 version by following the steps from this tutorial: Add the Control Panel and the Command Prompt to the WinX menu in Windows 10.
15. Use Cortana
In the end, here's a method to open the Control Panel for the more talkative users out there: speak with Cortana. On the right side of the search box from your taskbar, click or tap on the Cortana icon to make her listen. Alternatively, you can also use your voice to say "Hey Cortana," if you enabled this feature in Windows 10. Then, say "Control Panel."
You might be tempted to use other similar commands, such as "Open Control Panel" or "Start Control Panel." In our tests, they do not work as expected, meaning that they offer different results but never actually open the Control Panel. The only one that works is the one we have mentioned earlier: plain and simple "Control Panel."
Which is your favorite way of opening the Control Panel in Windows 10?
These are all the methods we know of starting the Control Panel in Windows 10. Some of them are easy, while others are not as straightforward. We hope that you found this list helpful and, if you know other methods, do not hesitate to share them in the comments section below.