Tips for Making Windows 8 Easier to Use - Shortcuts to Access the Control Panel


Do you want to change some system settings in Windows 8 and are looking for the Control Panel? It used to be on the Start Menu but Windows 8 doesn’t have a Start Menu so you will have to look someplace else. In this tip, I’ll show four different ways to get to this important system tool quickly.

Method one - Use the Quick Access menu opened by the keyboard shortcut Winkey+X that was described in this previous tip

Method two - Another keyboard shortcut  to the desktop Control Panel  is Winkey+I, which opens a Charms bar with Control Panel as an entry. (Does not apply when you are on the Start Screen.)

Method three - Open the Run line with the keyboard combination Winkey+R and then enter “control” (without quotes) .

Method four - If you are a frequent user of  Control Panel, here is how to create a desktop shortcut for opening it

  1. Right-click a empty spot on the desktop
  2. From the context menu, select “New”
  3. Select “Shortcut”
  4. In the box labeled “Type the location of the item”, enter
    explorer shell:::{5399E694-6CE5-4D6C-8FCE-1D8870FDCBA0}
  5. Click “Next”
  6. For the name, enter “Control Panel”
  7. Click “Finish”

Method five  An even easier way to create a shortcut to Control Panel on the Desktop was covered in a previous article. See Tip #3 in that article for details

Method six  There is also a way to list all the components of Control Panel in one place and that was also covered in the previous article. See Tip #1 in that article for details

And there you have it - a selection of paths to Control Panel  so you can  pick the way that suits you best.

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's, guides, and tutorials, including a site for learning about Windows and the Internet and another with Windows 7 tips.

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I'm surprised that nobody mentioned "Godmode".
It's one of the first things I install and seems to solve all my control panel problems.

I have now added a new reference to the previous article about this method to make it more obvious.

Another tip for getting to the control panel without having to go to the desktop first is to enable the desktop toolbar - right-click on the taskbar, mouse over "toolbars" and click on "desktop" - then you can click on the chevron and have access to a tree display for all desktop icons/shortcuts.

Slightly off-topic, but another useful toolbar to have in the Windows 8 desktop screen is one for all programs (as we had in Win7 start menu). Right-click on the taskbar, mouse over toolbars and click on "new toolbar". In the window that opens, browse to C:/ProgramData/Microsoft/Windows/Start Menu/Programs then click on "select folder" - you now have a tree for all installed program folders/files available when you click on the toolbar chevron.

What on earth is method four about? The control panel shortcut is a default desktop icon so there is no need to create another one.

If it is not currently displayed right-click on the desktop, click on "personalise" then "change desktop icons" and check the box for control panel and click on OK.

Control Panel is not a "default" shortcut since it has to be enabled. The "Personalize" method was covered in the previous tip "How to put commonly used folders and functions on the Desktop" at and listed in the current tip under "Related tips". Maybe you missed that.
Vic, in that respect, even the My Computer, Recycle Bin, Network, and My Documents, etc are also not default, since they too have to enabled from the Personalize options, when you install the OS fresh. I can't recall for Windows 8 exactly, but it has to be done in XP to Windows 7. And I think enabling the shortcut this way is easier than the 4th option. Atleast, general users will find it easier. Maybe you can include this one as an option too?
Anupam, I had done the previous tip, "How to put commonly used folders and functions on the Desktop", and referenced it. I thought that would cover this method but I guess not. I'll take your advice and add it.
It's better now :). Actually, since the article is about Control Panel shortcuts, it's good to list all methods here, even if you covered one of them in other article. It's better to see all methods at one place... helps to remember better, and also good for reference :). Keep up the excellent work :).

The use of the word default maybe comes down to semantics, but what I meant was why create a shortcut when one is already available (and, in my case, was enabled by default in two 7 and one 8 installations)?

I did see the previous tips when you published them and in fact used the "all settings" one so thank you for that.

I understand your point. I was trying to illustrate a general method of creating shortcuts, one that I will be using in other tips. But, in the current context, I can see that it might seem unnecessary. On the other hand, Windows always seems to have multiple ways to do the same thing and I like to show a variety.

"Windows always seems to have multiple ways to do the same thing" - I second that!

I only came across the Alt+F4 keyboard shortcut for getting the shutdown etc. menu on the desktop yesterday, I'd been using Winkey+I to open the Win8 settings bar.

That's a good point :).
Nice tips Vic. I liked the first two methods, and didn't new about them before. Thanks! :)