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New Vista Syntax for Opening Control Panel Items from the Command-line

In prior versions of Windows before Vista, you could always open control panel items by passing control.exe the name of the *.cpl file that represented the item you were trying to open. For instance, if you wanted to open the display properties you could run the command “control.exe desk.cpl”.

In Windows Vista, there’s a new syntax for opening control panel items – you can use the /name switch to pass the friendly name to control.exe instead of the difficult syntax.

For instance, if you want to open the Power Options panel you could run the following command from either the command line or the start menu search box:

control.exe /name Microsoft.PowerOptions

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Here’s a table of all the names that should work, which you can use in shortcuts or batch files.

Microsoft.AddHardware Microsoft.PenAndInputDevices
Microsoft.AdministrativeTools Microsoft.PeopleNearMe
Microsoft.AudioDevicesAndSoundThemes Microsoft.PerformaceInformationAndTools
Microsoft.AutoPlay Microsoft.Personalization
Microsoft.BackupAndRestoreCenter Microsoft.PhoneAndModemOptions
Microsoft.BitLockerDriveEncryption Microsoft.PowerOptions
Microsoft.Bluetooth Microsoft.Printers
Microsoft.CardSpace Microsoft.ProblemReportsAndSolutions
Microsoft.ColorManagement Microsoft.ProgramsAndFeatures
Microsoft.DateAndTime Microsoft.RegionalAndLanguageOptions
Microsoft.DefaultPrograms Microsoft.ScannersAndCameras
Microsoft.DeviceManager Microsoft.SecurityCenter
Microsoft.EaseOfAccessCenter Microsoft.SpeechRecognitionOptions
Microsoft.FolderOptions Microsoft.SyncCenter
Microsoft.Fonts Microsoft.System
Microsoft.GameControllers Microsoft.TabletPCSettings
Microsoft.GetPrograms Microsoft.TaskbarAndStartMenu
Microsoft.GetProgramsOnline Microsoft.TextToSpeech
Microsoft.IndexingOptions Microsoft.UserAccounts
Microsoft.Infrared Microsoft.WelcomeCenter
Microsoft.InternetOptions Microsoft.WindowsAnytimeUpgrade
Microsoft.iSCSIInitiator Microsoft.WindowsDefender
Microsoft.Keyboard Microsoft.WindowsFirewall
Microsoft.MobilityCenter Microsoft.WindowsSideShow
Microsoft.Mouse Microsoft.WindowsSidebarProperties
Microsoft.NetworkAndSharingCenter Microsoft.WindowsUpdate
Microsoft.OfflineFiles Microsoft.ParentalControls

You should note that you can also create shortcuts to control panel items by just right-click dragging the link in Control Panel to the folder you want to create the shortcut in.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/26/07

Comments (7)

  1. Zbyszek

    Thanks – Now I can make a shortcut for Bluetooth control panel – to switch it off/on.
    That will be faster than allways go trough Control Panel :)

  2. Nik Simpson

    If you type in the first characters of the control panel name in the start-search box it will find the applet, for example, type “pare” and it will find the parental controls applet.

  3. Steven J. Bach

    The Sounds Event Window in Personalization in the Control Panel of Windos Vista
    has changed. The ability to apply sounds or even bring up sound files has disappeared completely.
    What events have sounds, stll can be sounded by the doubles left click of the mouse.
    No sounds can be removed or changes. No files can be searched to tie into sound files.
    How can this problem be fixed.
    Brand new Dell XPS 420. 2 weeks old.

  4. John

    What about control panel items that are not Microsoft default? Say for instance “Realtek HD Sound Manager” or some such. Is there somewhere where I can determine the correct name to enter? I can’t seem to get the one I want to run…

  5. Michiel W.

    Thx for this info. Couldn’t get my vbscript to run control panel items on Windows Vista.

    For info for running other non standard cpl’s, see:

    http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb776841(VS.85).aspx

    The conical name can be found in the registry.

  6. Mark

    Here’s a bigger list: http://pcsupport.about.com/od/tipstricks/a/control-panel-command-line.htm

    There were a few that MS’s list even didn’t have which is how I found the link.

  7. Chris

    This is great, but is there a way to use control.exe to close an applet once opened?

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