Introducing Windows 8.1: Six Ways to Access PC Settings

When using Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, you may be confused at first, when trying to find the PC Settings panel - the touch friendly alternative to the classic Control Panel. In the end you will figure it out but it should have been a lot easier. That's why I decided to share the six ways I found for opening it. I'm sure many users will find this guide useful.

1. Open it via the User Menu on the Start screen

Even though it is not intuitive to do it, the fastest way to access PC Settings from the Start screen is to use the user menu on the top right. Click or tap Change account picture.

This opens PC Settings and takes you to the Personalize section in Windows 8 and the Accounts section in Windows 8.1

2. Use the Settings Charm

Another way is to use the Settings charm.

To bring up the charms, move the mouse (or finger) to the top or bottom right corner of the screen. Then, move the cursor (or finger) downwards (if you used the top corner) or upwards (if you used the bottom corner) and a black background is displayed for the charms.

Click or tap Settings and then on "Change PC settings".

3. Use the PC Settings Shortcut on the Desktop

Even though you cannot create a PC Settings shortcut on the Desktop, we created one for you. Download it and extract it on the Desktop.

You can find it here: Download a Desktop Shortcut to PC Settings, for Windows 8 & 8.1.

4. Use the PC Settings Shortcut on the Taskbar

You can use the same shortcut to right click (or press and hold) and select Pin to Taskbar.

The PC Settings shortcut is now found on the taskbar.

5. Open it from the Control Panel

This is the most cumbersome way to open PC Settings but I decided to share it nonetheless.

Open Control Panel and go to User Accounts and Family Safety -> User Accounts.

Then, click or tap "Make changes to my account in PC settings".

This takes you to the Users section in PC Settings.

6. Pin PC Settings to the Start Screen, in Windows 8.1

This sixth method works only in Windows 8.1. Finally, Microsoft has created a way to pin PC Settings to the Start screen and make it easily accessible.

Go to the Start and search for "pc settings".

Right click or press and hold the PC Settings search result.

Click or tap Pin to Start and PC Settings will have its shortcut added to the Start screen. Yay! This simple feature was needed.


Don't hesitate to experiment with all these ways of opening PC Settings and pick the one that works best for you. For other cool tips and tricks about Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, don't hesitate to read our recommendations below.