- Control Panel (Windows)
The Control Panel is a part of the Microsoft Windows graphical user interface which allows users to view and manipulate basic system settings and controls via applets, such as adding hardware, adding and removing software, controlling user accounts, and changing accessibility options. Additional applets can be provided by third party software.
The Control Panel has been an inherent part of the Microsoft Windows operating system since its first release (Windows 1.0), with many of the current applets being added in later versions. Beginning with Windows 95, the Control Panel is implemented as a special folder, i.e. the folder does not physically exist, but only contains shortcuts to various applets such as Add or Remove Programs and Internet Options. Physically, these applets are stored as .cpl files. For example, the Add or Remove Programs applet is stored under the name appwiz.cpl in the SYSTEM32 folder.
In recent versions of Windows, the Control Panel has two views, Classic View and Category View, and it is possible to switch between these through an option that appears on the left side of the window.
Many of the individual Control Panel applets can be accessed in other ways. For instance, Display Properties can be accessed by right-clicking on an empty area of the desktop and choosing Properties.
The classic view consists of shortcuts to the various control panel applets, usually without any description (other than the name). The categories are seen if the user use "Details" view.
The category view consists of categories, which when clicked on display the control panel applets related to the category. In Windows Vista, the category displays links to the most commonly used applets below the name of the category.
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