COMMON  WINDOWS  10  CONTROL  PANELS  EXPLAINED

The Control Panel is a system folder that contains the programs needed to change certain computer settings. Settings to do with the Display, the Mouse and Mouse Pointer, the Printer, the Sound, the Internet and so on. This section will explain what the common control panels do and the rest of the category will show you how to use some of the control panels.


If you have not read this page before continue reading it, from top to bottom, as normal. Otherwise you can click on a subject below to get near/on the subject you was reading before. Uninstall A Program is the next section - It is also linked at the bottom of this page.

Administrative Tools

AutoPlay

Backup And Restore (Windows 7)

Colour Management

Credential Manager

Date And Time

Default Programs

Device Manager

Devices & Printers

Display

Ease Of Access Center
  File Explorer Options

File History

Fonts

Home Group

Indexing Options

Internet Options

Keyboard

Language

Mouse

Network And Sharing Center

Personalization
  Phone And Modem

Power Options

Programs And Features

Recovery

Region

RemoteApp And Desktop Connections

Security & Maintenance

Sound

Speech Recognition

Storage Spaces

Sync Center
  System

Taskbar And Navigation

Troubleshooting

User Accounts

Windows Defender

Windows Firewall

Windows Mobility Center

Work Folders

Windows Update

Administrative  Tools

This control panel is for Very Advanced Users only. It allows you to Partition A Hard Drive, Stop/Start System Services, Schedule System Tasks, Manage Windows Firewall Settings and so on.

AutoPlay

Allows you to turn off/on the Automatic Play feature for each device (i.e. Flash Drive, Digital Camera, etc) or piece of media (i.e. CD, DVD, etc) you insert into the computer for the first time. AutoPlay is the requester that appears asking you if you want to Import Pictures, View Pictures, Open Folder To View Files, Play DVD, Execute a program (i.e. a setup.exe file) and so on.

Backup  And  Restore  (Windows 7)

Allows you to back up (and then restore) Picture files, Music files, Videos files, E-Mails, Documents, Windows Media Center Recorded TV Shows and Compressed files either as a custom backup or as part of a full (hard drive image) backup. Meaning, System files, Program/Executable files and Temporary files will also be backed up alongside your own personal data files.

NOTE - Although this control panel specifies Windows 7 in its title, it actually works for Windows 10 too. It primarily allows you to restore any old Windows 7 backups on your Windows 10 computer, but it can also be used to back up your Windows 10 computer in exactly the same way.

Color  Management

Allows you to change the Colour Profile for a particular device such as a Printer, Monitor or Digital Camera. Because each device will probably use a different set of colours from one another it is the Colour Management's job to keep the colours looking consistent. In other words, what you see on the monitor screen should look, colourwise, more or less the same when it is printed.

This control panel is for Very Advanced Users only - Altering the colour profiles without knowledge can produce unwanted effects/problems.

Credential  Manager

Credential Manager is similar to Norton's "Manage Logins" and Firefox's "Remember Password" features combined. It allows you to store website Login details for example so that next time you visit a website Windows 10 can automatically log you in it. Credentials are saved in special folders on your computer called vaults. Windows and programs (such as web browsers) can securely give the credentials in the vaults to other computers and websites.

Date  and  Time

As well as the obvious changing of the Data and Time this control panel also allows you to change the Time Zone (i.e. to Hong Kong), Synchronize the time with a time server (internet clock) and have two additional times (clocks) as part of the notification area clock.

Default  Programs

Allows you to associate a Default (normally used) Program, such as Windows Media Player, with one or more file types. For example. If you associate Windows Media Player with the MP3 file type, double clicking on a MP3 file will automatically open Windows Media Player so that Windows Media Player can then play that MP3 file.

You can also set the actual Default Program with this control panel. For example: If you have Windows Media Player and QuickTime Player both associated with the MP3 file type you can set which media player opens, as the Default Media Player, when you double click on a MP3 file.

Device  Manager

Allows you to Install or Uninstall the driver software for a particular piece of hardware. Device Manager is good if a piece of hardware is not working correctly and needs to be Uninstalled. Or when a piece of hardware cannot be Installed because you have no Installation CD for it, that contains its driver software, and therefore need to check the Internet for its driver software. Even if the hardware is working fine sometimes you might want to disable the hardware, for whatever reason(s) - Device Manager allows you to Enable or Disable hardware as well.

Device Manager is for Very Advanced Users only - Uninstalling or Disabling hardware without knowledge can produce unwanted effects/problems.

Devices  Printer

Allows you to set the default Printer, adjust Keyboard and Mouse properties, control Windows Fax And Scan software as well as view/control other aspects of your hardware (i.e. the computer and a flash drive).

Display

Allows you to adjust certain aspects of the display screen, such as its Resolution (Desktop Size), its ClearType (Font Readability), Text Size, Brightness and so on.

Ease  Of  Access  Center

Allows you to change certain display and audio settings, known as Accessibility settings, that are aimed mostly at people with sight and sound difficulties. For example: If you have trouble hearing there is a Narrator that can speak the text on the screen, describe your desktop and describe any windows you have open. And for those who are blind or have sight difficulties there is a screen magnifier that can magnify a part of the screen.

File  Explorer  Options

Allows you to change the way you open, operate, navigate and view folders and files. You can display file extension names such as .docx and .jpg, have folders and files open when double clicked or single clicked on, show recently used files in the Quick Access sidebar, show thumbnails (preview icons) instead of pseudo icons and much more.

File  History

Allows you to backup (make a copy of), and restore (find/replace), missing folders and files. It works in the same way as Backup & Restore (see above), but is limited to Libraries (i.e. it is aimed at backing up and restoring folders and files from within your Libraries - DESKTOP folders/files, PICTURES folders/files, MUSIC folders/files, VIDEOS folders/files, CONTACTS folders/files, etc).

Fonts

Allows you to open the Fonts system folder, so you can view the Fonts already installed or install new Fonts.

HomeGroup

HomeGroup allows you to easily share your Libraries (Documents, Pictures, Video and Music folders) and Printer(s) on a home network. With a homegroup, which is password protected, you can always choose what you share with a group; therefore putting you in control of what is shared, if anything at all.

Indexing  Options

Allows you to change the way Windows 10 indexes files for searching. Windows 10 builds up an Index of your files in order to make searching for them easier and quicker. The index stores information such as a file's name, the date/time it was modified, author details and so on.

This control panel is for Very Advanced Users only.

Internet  Options

Allows you to change the Internet Settings - Settings such as Security, Privacy, Content, History, Connections and so on.

50% of this control panel is for Very Advanced Users only.

Keyboard

Allows you to change the speed of the keyboard and the speed of the flashing cursor among other things.

Language

Allows you to install languages, delete languages and make a certain language the default (normally used) language for displaying Text in Wizards, Requesters, Menus and so on.

Mouse

Allows you to change Mouse and Mouse Pointer settings. For example: You can change the look of the mouse pointer, the speed of the mouse, whether or not the mouse is left-handed or right-handed, the number of lines scrolled when using a wheel mouse and so on. One very good setting is the ability to go the Default Button on a program. For example: If a requester is asking YES or NO, and you do not know which one to choose, the mouse pointer goes to the default (normal) option. The default option is not always the one to choose but it does give you an idea of what you should be choosing.

Network  And  Sharing  Center

Manages the Network side of Windows 10. You can set up and then connect to a network, check a network's status, change network settings and set preferences for sharing files and printers amongst other things.

This control panel is for Very Advanced Users only.


Personalization

Allows you to change the way Windows 10 looks and sounds by allowing you to change the appearance of the Desktop (background, windows, menus, colours, screen size and so on) and Mouse Pointer, and the Default Sound scheme.

Phone  And  Modem

Allows you to change the settings for your Internal (Dial-Up) Modem - This control panel is, to the modern world, may seem out-of-date and useless now; especially with advances in technology making internal dial-up modems for example more or less obsolete. Still, Microsoft have left it here for a reason.....

This control panel is for Advanced Users only.

Power  Options

Allows you to change the way the Power is used. For example. You can tell the Monitor and Hard Drive to switch off after a certain period of time, in order to save power/energy, as well as programme the Sleep/Shutdown buttons. This is good for Laptop users and for protecting the monitor and hard drive against unnecessary power usage.

Programs  And  Features

Allows you to Repair or Uninstall a single program or a whole software package, as well as make Changes to that program or software (i.e. add or remove certain features). You can see which Windows Updates are installed from here too.

Recovery

System Restore is a feature of Windows 10 that allows you to Restore (Repair) Windows 10 back to an earlier date/time, if it should become corrupt/broken. Preferably back to a date/time when Windows 10 was working 100%. This is possible because Windows 10 creates a Restore (Repair) Point for you automatically every day, and whenever software is installed (i.e. a Program, Driver Software, Protection Software and so on). So if Windows 10 freezes/crashes frequently after software is installed you can use System Restore to restore Windows 10 back to the state it was in before the software was installed.

This control panel allows you to open the System Restore program, therefore allowing you to manually create a restore point, perform a system restore and so on.

Region

Allows you to change the region (location/country) used by the keyboard for example, as well as change your region (location/country) for website services to use and the date format associated with a certain region (location/country).

RemoteApp  And  Desktop  Connections

RemoteApp And Desktop Connections is a feature you can use to access programs and desktops (both remote computers and virtual computers) made available to you by your workplace's network administrator. So basically, when you are at home you can access your work computer and its programs.

Security  And  Maintenance

This is the control panel to visit and use when Windows 10 complains you have no security software installed or switched on, even though you have, due to anti-virus, firewall, etc software problems. It allows allow you to schedule and run maintenance and security checks among other things.

Sound

Allows you to configure the Sound and Audio Devices (Sound Themes, Volume and so on).

Speech  Recognition

Allows you to configure Speech Recognition and Text-To-Speech settings (Voice and Voice Speed setting).

Storage  Spaces

Allows you (Windows 10) to combine one or more hard drives into one storage space, that then operates like one big hard drive. Depending on how you create the storage space, Windows 10 will either save your folders and files as backup copies onto each of the multiple hard drives that make up the storage space or split your folders and files first before saving them as individual pieces across the multiple hard drives that make up the storage space. Storage spaces can act as a basic backup device only or be more complex and technical for those who are really in need of a professional data backup service; such as a large company. As a home user you would use storage space purely for backup purposes.

Sync  Center

Sync Center allows you to keep information in synchronization between your computer and a mobile device for example. A mobile device such as a mobile phone, digital camera or music player. It can also synchronize between your computer and a network server file, and any programs that support Sync Center.

One example of Sync Center is to use a Flash (Memory) Drive that can synchronize with Windows Media Player (i.e with Playlists). The idea of sync is to have two or more files, in separate locations, that are automatically updated at the same time (synchronized).

System

Allows you to configure the system (Windows 10, the computer's Hardware and the computer's Software). It gives you access to the System Properties window where you can Install/Uninstall/Change Hardware Settings, Rename the computer, Change the performance/appearance of Windows 10 and so on.

This control panel is for Advanced Users only.

Taskbar  And  Navigation

Allows you to configure the Taskbar and Start Menu settings - Their appearance mainly.

Troubleshooting

The Troubleshooting control panel contains several troubleshooting programs that can automatically fix some common problems with your computer, such as network problems, hardware/device problems and program compatibility problems. Although troubleshooters are not designed to fix every problem, they are a useful thing to try first, as they can often save you time and effort.

User  Accounts

Allows you to configure the User Accounts. Their Rights, Password, Picture and so on.

Certain aspects of this control panel is for Very Advanced Users only.

Windows  Defender

Executes (launches/opens) Windows Defender, Windows 10's anti-spyware program. From there you can Scan for spyware problems (infections), check for updates and choose a scan type (i.e Quick or Full). Windows Defender is normally switched off by more advanced internet security softwares such as Norton Internet Security and BitDefender Total.

Some aspects of this control panel are for Advanced Users only.

Windows  Firewall

Allows you to configure Windows 10's, built-in, Firewall settings. Windows Firewall is normally switched off by more advanced internet security softwares such as Norton Internet Security and BitDefender Total.

This control panel is for Advanced Users only.

Windows  Mobility  Center

This control panel is a collection of some other Control Panel programs that relate to Mobile Devices. For example: It has the Power options for a Laptop, the Sync Center, the Volume control and so on.

Work  Folders

This control panel is for IT Administrators. It basically allows someone to view files within a synchronised folder on their work network using intranet or internet connection. It is a kind of Dropbox, FTP and Windows File Sharing combination service.

This control panel is for Very Advanced Users and IT Professionals only.

Windows  Update

Allows you to turn off/on Automatic Updates. When on it automatically checks the Internet for new Critical (High Priority) Windows Updates, Security Updates and so on in order to protect Windows 10 and your computer in general. The updates are either downloaded automatically (in the background, as you are doing other things) by Windows 10 or can be manually downloaded by you, depending on the settings that have been set for Automatic Updates. When the updates have been downloaded they will either be installed automatically by Windows 10 or can be manually installed by you. Again, this depends on the settings that have been set for Automatic Updates.

NOTE WELL - Windows Update on Windows 10 Home Edition has had its ability to control if/when updates are installed/scheduled/etc. Meaning, they are done automatically only. You do not have that much control besides being able to manually check for updates.

THE  CONTROL PANEL  WINDOW

To open the Control Panel window, begin by right clicking on the START Menu button (Fig 1.0) to reveal its context (Options) menu. From there select (left click on) on the menu-item called CONTROL PANEL. Alternatively, double click on the CONTROL PANEL desktop icon (Fig 1.1); if it is there. Either way will open the Control Panel window (Fig 1.2).

The Control Panel Explained

Fig 1.0 - Right click on the START Menu button and select the CONTROL PANEL menu-item.....

The Control Panel Explained

Fig 1.1 - .....Or double click on the CONTROL PANEL desktop icon.....

If this is the first time the Control Panel will be opened, or unchanged, it will be in CATEGORY view. Category view is aimed at the beginner and allows you to change certain hardware and software settings using Links, rather than Icons. If this is the case, look towards the top-right-hand corner of the window and click on the LARGE ICONS or SMALL ICONS link (Fig 1.2 below) to put the Control Panel window into Large Icons (Fig 1.3) or Small Icons view. Selecting one of these views will display icons and links instead of links only.

The Control Panel Explained

Fig 1.2 - The Control Panel window is open in CATEGORY View - Click on the VIEW BY drop-down menu to change to LARGE ICONS View

There is nothing wrong with CATEGORY view, but overall the LARGE ICONS and SMALL ICONS views go straight to the settings - Category view splits things up into categories and therefore tends to send you through sub-categories before showing you the settings. The same could be said of the LARGE ICONS and SMALL ICONS views in that they give you TABs (sub-windows), but overall the LARGE ICONS and SMALL ICONS views have the advantage in my opinion.

The Control Panel Explained

Fig 1.3 - The Control Panel is now in LARGE ICONS View, full of Icons and Links.

Do not worry if your control panel does not have all the icons/links as displayed in my control panel (Fig 1.3 above) because not all control panels are exactly the same. Meaning, all control panels have the standard Windows 10 settings/icons/links but if you install a third party piece of software, such as Java, that software might add its own icon/link to the control panel. Therefore, technically speaking, you would no longer have a standard Windows 10 control panel.

In the examples that follow within this Control Panel category, and within these website examples generally, I always use the LARGE ICONS view. This should not stop you from using CATEGORY view though as its settings are the same as in the Icons views, just laid out in a different way/view.