What is the Windows Control Panel – Windows Search & Windows Vista Control Panel Customization

Tip 4 – Using Windows Search in Control Panel

Windows Search is a powerful tool and if you feel that even customizing the Control Panel layout doesn’t help you find the function you need, you can always find it from the Search box. Go to the search box on the top right of the Control Panel Window and type the first few letters of the feature you’re looking for, for example type disk, printer, mouse, whatever it might be. As you are typing, Windows will display a list of related links. Integrated search is a big step forward, but keep in mind that it only works effectively in the category view. For example if you type printer there, you’ll get links to add or remove printers, share a printer on the network, manage colors, update drivers and more. But typing printer in Classic View opens only single link to the Printers applet, which is nearly so helpful.

Tips 5 – Some Shortcuts to Control Panel Applets

Now that you have got used to modifying Control Panel’s lay­out, now it’s time to start exploring some of the more advanced ways to use it. Press Start and type control in the search box and press Enter to launch the Control Panel. Now press Start again and type ncpa.cpl and press Enter and you’ll see the Network Connections window will open. You can use the same procedure for many of the items in the Control Panel. This is a great way to launch your most frequently used Control Panel settings without having to move away from the keyboard to pick up your mouse. The table below shows a selection of these shortcuts.

Ncpa.cpl Configure network connections

Powercfg.cpl Change power saving options

Timedate.cpl Change date and time

Wscui.cpl Open Windows Security Center

Appwiz.cpl Uninstall or change a program

Desk.cpl Change display settings

Firewall.cpl Configure Windows firewall

Inetcpl.cpl Change internet options

Intl.cpl Change regional and language options

Main.cpl Configure mouse settings

Mmsys.cpl Change sound settings

Tip 6 – Customizing Taskbar and Start menu properties

To access all the Control Panel functions directly from the Start menu, place your mouse pointer over the Start button, right-click and select Properties. This will open a dialogue box named Taskbar and Start menu Properties with a button labeled Customize at the top right. Click Customize and scroll down until you see the Control Panel entry and then tick on the Display as a menu box. This will enable the Control Panel to appear as a fly-out menu on the Start panel rather than opening up in a separate window. You can also do the same for the advanced System Administrative Tools. Just scroll down the Customize list to find the entry, and then tick the Display on the All Programs and the Start menu box.

This post is part of the series: Taming the Control Panel in Windows Vista

Tips, tricks, and tactics to master the few useful but lesser-known features of Control Panel in Windows Vista

  1. How to Master Windows Vista’s Control Panel – Part 1
  2. How to Master Windows Vista’s Control Panel – Part 2
  3. How to Master Windows Vista’s Control Panel – Part 3
  4. How to Master Windows Vista’s Control Panel – Part 4