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How To Disable Control Panel in Windows 7

If you have a shared computer that your family and friends can access, you might not want them to mess around in the Control Panel, and luckily with a simple tweak you can disable it.

Disable Control Panel with Group Policy

Note: This process uses Local Group Policy Editor which is not available in Home versions of Windows 7. Skip down below for the registry hack version that works on Home editions as well.

First type gpedit.msc into the Search box in the Start menu and hit Enter.

gpedit_start

When Local Group Policy Editor opens, navigate to User Configuration \ Administrative Templates then select Control Panel in the left Column. In the right column double-click on Prohibit access to the Control Panel.

1control Panel

In the next window, select Enable, click OK, then close out of Local Group Policy Editor.

2control Panel

After the Control Panel is disabled, you’ll notice it’s no longer listed in the Start Menu.

3control panel

If the user tries to type Control Panel into the Search box in the Start menu, they will get the following message indicating it’s restricted.

4control panel

Disable Control Panel with a Registry Tweak

You can also tweak the Registry to disable Control Panel. This will work with all versions of Windows 7, Vista, and XP. Making changes in the Registry is not recommended for beginners and you should create a Restore Point, or backup the Registry before making any changes.

Type regedit into the Search box in the Start menu and hit Enter.

regedit_Start

In Registry Editor navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Policies\Explorer. Then right-click in the right pane and create a new DWORD (32-bit) Value.

1reg

Name the value NoControlPanel. Then right-click on the new Value and click Modify…

2reg 

In the Value data field change the value to “1” then click OK. Close out of Registry Editor and restart the machine to complete the process.

3reg

When you get back from reboot, you’ll notice Control Panel is no longer listed in the Start menu.

4start

If a user tries to access it by typing Control Panel into the Search box in the Start menu…

5start

They will get the following message indicating it is restricted, just like if you were to disable it via Group Policy.

4control panel

If you want to re-enable the Control Panel, go back into the Registry and change the NoControlPanel value back to “0” then reboot the computer.

6start

This comes in handy if you have inexperienced users working on your machine and don’t want them messing with Control Panel settings.

Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+

  • Published 04/29/10

Comments (4)

  1. Jon

    If you are sharing a computer with family you should go WELL beyond the Control Panel. You can edit settings for a user specifically, going as far as removing access to Explorer, being able to browse drives, restrict the Start Menu to certain folders, etc.

    I created one for my daughter once. All she had were icons on the desktop for some kids games. She couldn’t do anything else.

  2. Charles

    Can you tell me how you disabled access to other programs? I should first say that I am using Windows 7 Home Version, so I don’t have Local Group Policy Editor and would have to make any changes the long way with some help from my computer-savvy friend (using the “registry hack version that works on Home editions” mentioned on the How-To Geek site).

  3. solomon

    “I created one for my daughter once. All she had were icons on the desktop for some kids games. She couldn’t do anything else.”

    aww bit tight!!!

    all you have to do is restrict access to the system folders and u can’t do anything that you don’t want her to do

  4. Faye

    I used regedit because I have the Home edition of W7. I was only able to disable Control panel in the administrator account and I cannot get it disabled in the user account that I want it disabled in. I wouldn’t even care if I could get both account disabled as long as the one I need it in is disabled. Any suggestions?

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