In Microsoft’s desire to make Windows 10 more user-friendly, the company is trying to gradually replace the Control Panel with the Settings app. However, you may just prefer Control Panel or find it easier to get to more advanced settings this way. Despite it not being front and center, there are multiple ways to still open the Control Panel in Windows 10.
1. Search in Start Menu
The easiest method and my usual go-to is to use the Start menu. Since you can search your system for files and apps, use it to search for Control Panel.
Open Start and type “Control Panel.” Choose Control Panel when it appears.
2. Pin to Start or Taskbar
Another simple and quick way to open the Control Panel in Windows 10 is to pin it to either your Start menu or taskbar. Alternatively, add it to both if you want it to be more accessible.
When you use the Start menu to search for Control Panel, you’ll notice you have two options under the Control Panel app result.
Choose either option to pin the app to your Start menu or taskbar. I personally prefer it in my Start menu, as my taskbar is already a little cluttered.
3. Open the Control Panel from Run
The Run dialog gives you access to a variety of apps and settings on Windows 10, including Control Panel. Press Win + R to open the Run dialog box. Then, just type “control panel” and click OK. You can also open the dialog box by right-clicking Start and choosing Run.
4. Open via Command Prompt
This one involves an extra step, which doesn’t make it quite as efficient as the other methods so far. However, it’s still a viable way to open the Control Panel.
Either press Win + R (or open Start) and type
cmd. At the prompt, type “control panel” and hit Enter.
Alternately, you can use PowerShell, as it works the same way. Right-click Start and choose Windows PowerShell. Type “control panel” at the prompt.
5. Search from Settings
If you don’t like using the Settings app, use it just long enough to open the Control Panel in Windows 10. Either press Win + I or open Start and click the Settings icon to open Settings.
Then, type “control panel” in the Settings search box. Choose the Control Panel result.
6. Add a Desktop Shortcut
If you open the Control Panel often, creating a desktop shortcut may be the quickest and easiest method. If your desktop is getting cluttered, there are some ways to better organize all those shortcuts.
Create a Control Panel desktop shortcut by right-clicking a free space on your desktop. Choose “New -> Shortcut.”
Enter the following in the location box and press Next:
Enter a name for your shortcut. The default – “explorer” – isn’t very descriptive. I named mine Control Panel, obviously.
Click Finish and enjoy your new shortcut.
7. Add to Win+X Menu
Originally, you could open the Control Panel by right-clicking the Start menu or pressing Win + X to access the Power User menu, but Microsoft removed the option, much to users’ dismay. However, as you already know, Control Panel isn’t gone, at least not yet.
You can add the option back to this menu. The easiest way to do it is with the WinX Menu Editor, which is completely free to use.
8. Use File Explorer
Yet another way to quickly open the Control Panel is via File Explorer. Press Win + E to open File Explorer. Select “This PC” on the left.
Click the arrow between the computer icon and “This PC” to expand a menu. Select Control Panel from the list.
Overall, the quickest methods involve creating a desktop shortcut or pinning a shortcut to your Start menu or taskbar. However, any of the above work well for ensuring you don’t have to rely just on Settings to control and optimize your PC.