How To Quickly Launch Control Panel Items With The Run Dialog

Windows: For quick access to individual Control Panel tools, like display options and administrative tools, type some simple commands into Windows' run dialog. It'll save you the hassle of jumping through the default Control Panel view's hoops.

Windows 7 and Vista were a great leap forward from Windows XP, but the Control Panel has become more difficult to use.

You can get to the Control Panel quickly, by calling up the run box with the Win + R shortcut and then typing "control" and hitting Enter.

A better use of the run dialog, however, is to completely bypass the main Control Panel view by adding the name of the tool you want to get to. For example:

  • To jump to your desktop settings, type "control desktop" into the run box.
  • You can get to your printers folder by entering "control printers".
  • Access the system's Administrative Tools by typing "control admintools".
  • For managing your network connections, type "control netconnections".

There are several other Control Panel applications and folders you can launch from the run dialog or the command prompt, including your: mouse, keyboard, fonts, scheduled tasks ("schedtasks"), and users and passwords ("userpasswords").

For many common tools, the syntax is straightforward, but sometimes you may need to enter the *.cpl file name in the command. Type in "control desk.cpl" to access your display settings or "control powercfg.cpl" for the power management options.

See Microsoft's list of *.cpl Control Panel tools and the table of simplified control syntax for more options.

Shortcut of the Day highlights a great shortcut on various platforms from the desktop to mobile devices to the web. You can find more shortcuts here.


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