15 ways to open Windows 10 Settings

The Settings app is the place where you customize how Windows 10 works in detail. You can install devices from it, change the keyboard language, the desktop wallpaper, update Windows 10, or configure its privacy settings. To change Windows 10 settings and personalize it as you wish, you need to open the Settings app, which replaces the old Control Panel, that some know from Windows 7. There are many ways to open Settings, including some useful keyboard shortcuts. In this guide we share them all, so you can always find your way to Settings in Windows 10:

NOTE: The screenshots used in this article are from Windows 10 May 2020 Update. If you do not know which version of Windows 10 you have installed, read: How to check the Windows 10 version, OS build, edition, or type.

What is the Settings app in Windows 10?

First, a quick explanation about Settings on Windows 10: this app is the modern replacement for the old Control Panel. Both apps help you configure how Windows 10 works, but Settings is actively developed, while the Control Panel is slowly pulled back. Microsoft’s purpose is to replace the Control Panel with Settings. Today, the Settings app offers many more configuration options, and it has the advantage of working well with a mouse and keyboard, as well as with touch input on tablets and 2-in-1 devices.

Settings app in Windows 10

Now that we know what the Settings app is, let’s see all the ways for starting it:

1. Open Settings with a keyboard shortcut

We are big fans of keyboard shortcuts, and this is the fastest Settings shortcut: press the Windows + I keys simultaneously.

The keyboard shortcut for Settings

The Settings app opens immediately.

2. How to open Windows 10 Settings from the Start Menu

Using the Start Menu is another fast way to open Settings in Windows 10. Click or tap the Start button and then the Settings shortcut, on the left. It looks like a cogwheel.

The Settings shortcut on the Windows 10 Start Menu

Another method is to click the Start icon, scroll down the list of apps to those that start with the letter S, and then click or tap on Settings.

Open Settings from Start Menu

3. How to open Settings from CMD (Command Prompt) or PowerShell

If you love command-line environments, then you probably like this method: it involves using the Command Prompt or PowerShell, depending on what you prefer. Open the CMD (Command Prompt) or start PowerShell, type start ms-settings: and press Enter.

Open Settings from CMD

Once you press Enter on your keyboard, Windows 10 immediately opens the Settings app.

4. How to go to Settings from the WinX menu

The WinX menu is opened by pressing Windows + X on your keyboard, or with a right-click on the Start button. In the menu that is shown, go to Settings.

Go to Settings from the WinX menu

5. How to open Windows 10 Settings using Search

On the Windows 10 taskbar, use the Search box and, inside it, write “settings.” When the search results are loaded, press Enter or click/tap the Settings result.

Use search in Windows 10 to open Settings

6. Tell Cortana to open the Settings app

If Cortana is enabled, you can ask her to open Settings for you. Click or tap on Cortana’s icon, and type or say “Open Settings.” Cortana confirms your command and displays a message that says: “I’ll open Settings.”

Telling Cortana to open Settings

7. Open Windows 10 Settings using the Run window

Another method is to use the Run window. To open it, press Windows + R on your keyboard, type the command ms-settings: and click OK or press Enter on your keyboard.

Open Settings using the Run window

The Settings app is opened instantly.

8. Create a Settings shortcut and pin it to your desktop

If a desktop shortcut is your preferred way to start apps, you can create one for Settings. Right-click on the desktop, and click or tap New, and then Shortcut. In the Create Shortcut wizard, type the destination “ms-settings:” (without the quotes).

Create a shortcut for Windows 10 Settings app

Read this guide if you need help with creating shortcuts: Create shortcuts for apps, files, folders, and web pages in Windows 10.

9. Open Windows 10 Settings from File Explorer

File Explorer also gives us a fast way to open the Settings app. Open File Explorer and go to This PC. Expand the Computer tab from the ribbon on top, and then click or tap Open Settings.

How to open Settings from File Explorer

That does the trick.

10. Open Windows 10 Settings using the Action Center

Windows 10 includes a feature called the Action Center, a place where you see notifications about the things happening on your device and the quick actions that you can use. Open the Action Center with a click or tap on its icon from the Notification Area, at the right end of the taskbar, or by pressing Windows + A on your keyboard. At the bottom of the Action Center, you see several actions and shortcuts. Click or tap All settings and the Settings app is opened.

Open Settings from Action Center

11. Pin the Settings app to the Windows 10 Start Menu or the taskbar

If you use the Settings app a lot, it might be a good idea to pin its shortcut to the Windows 10 taskbar or the Start Menu. To do that, open the Start Menu and right-click or press and hold the Settings icon. A menu is opened. Here, select “Pin to Start” or “More -> Pin to taskbar,” depending on where you want the Settings shortcut to be placed.

Pin Windows 10 Settings to Start or the taskbar

Once you do one of these actions, you can start the Settings app using a convenient shortcut, either from the Start Menu, or the taskbar.

The Windows 10 Settings shortcuts on Start and the taskbar

12. Open the Settings app by using Task Manager

Open the Task Manager – a quick way is by pressing CTRL + SHIFT + ESC. You may see the compact view of the Task Manager. In this case, press More details in the bottom-left corner of the Task Manager. In the File Menu, click or tap “Run new task.” In the “Create new task” window that appears, type “ms-settings:” (without the quotation marks) in the Open field, and press ENTER or click/tap OK.

Start Windows 10 Settings in Task Manager

13. How to open Settings from the desktop

A roundabout, but quick way to open the Settings app is from the context menu on the desktop. Right-click or tap and hold on the desktop, and choose Display settings or Personalize from the context menu.

Open Display settings or Personalize from the desktop context menu

The Settings app opens in the section you have chosen in the menu. In either case, click or tap the Home link in the top-left corner, and you get to the starting screen of the Settings app.

Go to Home in Windows 10 Settings app

14. How to go to Windows 10 Settings from the taskbar

The taskbar can also be used to get to the Settings app relatively quickly. One way is to right-click or press and hold anywhere on the empty space of your taskbar, and go to “Taskbar settings.”

Open Windows 10 Settings from the taskbar

The Settings app opens at its Taskbar section of settings. Click or tap Home, in the top-left corner, to get to its homepage.

Go to the Home of the Settings app

Another way is to click or tap on the network (or Wi-Fi) icon on the right-side of the taskbar, and then click or tap “Network & Internet settings.”

Open Windows 10 Settings from the taskbar

Then, click or tap Home, in the top-left corner of the Settings window, to get to its homepage.

15. Open Settings from the Control Panel

The last method we found is cumbersome, but we decided to share it for the sake of thoroughness. Open Control Panel and go to “User Accounts -> User Accounts.” Then, click or tap on “Make changes to my account in PC Settings.” It takes you to the “Your info” section from Settings.

Open Windows 10 Settings from Control Panel

Other places from the Control Panel that take you to the Settings app are the following:

  • “System and Security -> Security and Maintenance -> Recovery”
  • “Appearance and Personalization > Taskbar and Navigation”
  • “Appearance and Personalization > Turn High contrast on or off” (under Ease of Access Center)

The same as in the previous section, click or tap the Home link in the top-left corner, and you get to the start screen of the Settings app.

Do you know other methods to open Settings in Windows 10?

These are all the methods we know for opening the Settings app in Windows 10. However, there might be more ways to do that, so if you know of others, do not hesitate to share them in the comments section below. We promise to update the article and include additional methods.