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How to access Control Panel via File Explorer in Windows 10

Although the Settings app is the new experience to customize and configure Windows 10, you still need to use Control Panel, because not every option has been migrated to Settings.

The only problem is that on every new feature update for Windows 10, Microsoft makes it a bit more difficult to access Control Panel. For example, in the past, you could quickly open the experience from the ribbon menu in File Explorer and using the Power User menu (Windows key + X). But now those options are no longer available.

However, if you're still using Control Panel on a regular basis, it's possible to add a quick access button on "This PC" inside File Explorer by modifying the Registry.

In this Windows 10 guide, we detail the steps to include access to Control Panel inside This PC in File Explorer.

How to add Control Panel to 'This PC' in File Explorer

On Windows 10, you can use these steps to modify the Registry to add a new button on "This PC" to quickly access Control Panel:

Warning: This is a friendly reminder to let you know that editing the registry is risky, and it can cause irreversible damage to your installation if you don't do it correctly. We recommend making a full backup of your PC before you proceed.

  1. Use the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut to open the Run command.
  2. Type regedit, and click OK to open the registry.
  3. Browse the following path:HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\MyComputer
  4. Inside "MyComputer," right-click NameSpace (folder) key, select New, and click on Key.

  1. You now have two choices. You can add a button to access all the Control Panel items, or you can add a button to access Control Panel divided into categories (default view).
    • To add a button to access the category view, enter the following key name and press Enter:{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}
    • To add a button to access the large icons view, enter the following key name and press Enter:{26EE0668-A00A-44D7-9371-BEB064C98683}
  2. Close the Registry.

Once you complete these steps, the changes should apply automatically without needing to restart your PC. Now simply open File Explorer (Windows key + E) and on This PC, under Devices and drives a new Control Panel item should appear.

Quick Tip: If you want an even faster way to access Control Panel, you can also right-click the button and pin it to Quick Access or Start menu.

At any time, you can revert the changes by following the same instructions, but on step No. 5 carefully right-click the key you added, click Delete, and then Yes to confirm.

This guide is focused on Windows 10, but note that the same steps should work on Windows 8.1 and Windows 7.

More Windows 10 resources

For more help articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources:

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

32 Comments
  • Right click on This PC and goto properties.. You will end up in Control Panel 😂😂😂
  • Press the Windows key or Windows + S and type "Control panel".
  • Same without the S. And if you want a shortcut, right click on it => pin to start/taskbar I really don't get why all those tricks always use the most complicated way to do things
  • Or just Windows Key, type cont and Control Panel will show up.
  • Just right click on the Start button and click control panel! Miles easier
  • Pretty sure you can't do that starting with the Creators Update.
  • Correct, howewever you can press the start key and type Control which will bring it up since Win 7 onwards.
  • Just make control panel a Live tile 😁
  • I've had a desktop shortcut to control panel since XP!
  • Trick....or tweek???
  • I pinned it to my Start.  I use Start above all else.
  • I've pinned it to the Taskbar since 2009. I use the Taskbar above all else.
  • This.
  • Me too. I also drag each if my favorite Control panel entry to the pinned icon. That way I can right-click in it quickly access them
  • The most quickest way to open control panel is to open it from desktop. If you're running few apps, just click on the bottom right corner to show the desktop and launch Control Panel.
  • Settings Type Themes Top Right click on Desktop Icon Settings check the Control Panel Done, you have Control panel on the desktop, same with Computer to make that easier as well.    
  • I like the hackability of this trick.  Although there are some other options.  For example, if you simply search the Settings app, you'll find a link to whichever Control Panel setting you want to access.  You just need to know what to search for. Also, you can go to the Setings app > Personalisation > Themes and choose "Desktop Icon Settings" to turn on the Control Panel on the desktop. That's been available in Windows for generations.
  • Yet another easier way to open 'Control Panel' is to open 'File Explorer' and click on the right arrow next to the first icon in the address bar. 'Control Panel' is still present right there in the menu that opens.
  • Nice. I found this to be the easiest. Thx for the tip.
  • I usually just select ⬆ all the way in file explorer until I see the control panel available... easy. 😎
  • Used to have it as a shortcut as most that use it too often. But since I don't mess around with stuff all that much the past couple years almost just start typing "control panel" to Cortana and it'll be there. Typing sounds horrible but it's something I can get to faster than even right clicking properties on My Computer which I find funny to have on the desktop anymore. Everyone has his own use of a computer. But getting to it through file explorer is kinda ridiculous :3
  • (shrug) I have Stardock Start 10, which actually gives you a shortcut to the Control Panel, just like in Windows 7.
  • I simply right-click my WiFi icon in the tray, choose 'Network and sharing center' and click 'Control Panel Home'...
  • Another quick way would be through the Run dialog by typing Win+R, control, Enter.
  • Isn't Control Panel already there on File Explorer?  On the left pane, at the very bottom below Network and Homegroup, Control Panel is there (at least for me it is).
  • Not for me. If I want to open control panel I open the new settings app and type the first 4 characters of Control Panel (conf in dutch) in the searchbar at the top of the screen
  • Also easy to explain to customers
  • Forget the Control Panel..I am surprised that no one has mentioned "god mode" yet. That is the real "super control panel". The same instructions for activating it for Windows 8 work for Windows 10 as well. 
  • Uh... just type "Control Panel" in the nav bar of File Explorer and hit Enter and poof! You're in the Control Panel. Or type "Control Panel\All Control Panel Items" to get to all the settings.
  • Just  open up  Run command (win key  + r )  & type  Control ... easy & simple ... if u enable run histroy .. then next time u don't have to type that too.  
  • Windows + pause gets you to the System settings, useful when setting up a new computer and have to reach the device manager etc.
  • "Hey Cortana" "Control Panel"