With the old Windows Start menu, you could add the Control Panel as a menu or a drop-down list. With Windows 8 or Windows 10, you can pin the Control Panel to the Start Screen and taskbar but first you need to know where it is.

One of the chief complaints about Windows 8 (or any new version of Microsoft’s operating system) is “where did such-and-such go?” With Windows 8, when MS removed the Start button and Start Menu, it threw a lot of people for a loop. Because the Start Menu was like an old familiar hang out; one of those places that no matter how it changed over the years, it was a fairly reliable place to find stuff whether it was your Documents folder, Devices, Printers, the ability to search your programs and files, and of course, the Control Panel.

There are about four ways (so far) to access the Control Panel in Windows 8 or 10.

Finding the Control Panel Using Windows 10

If you’re using Windows 10, you can simply search the Start Menu for “Control Panel” and it will show right up in the list. You can either click to open it, or you could right-click and Pin to Start or Pin to taskbar for easier access the next time.

If you choose to Pin to Start, you’ll see it on the right-hand side of the Start Menu.

For Windows 8, Method 1: Search for It

If you are using Windows 8, it introduces a “Charms” bar accessible from the top or bottom right “hot corner”. Simply drag the mouse pointer to either corner until the five Charms appear along the right edge of the screen. Drag the mouse pointer and click on Search (you can access the Search charm through the keyboard shortcut Windows logo + Q).

The search pane will pop out and from there you can type Control Panel and select it from the results to the left. Alternatively, you can simply begin typing from the Start Screen.

Windows 8 – Method 2: The Ribbon aka Windows Explorer

In Windows 7, you can open Windows Explorer click on Computer and then Open Control Panel on the toolbar.

In Windows 8 or 10, you can also click on Open Control Panel but the toolbar has been replaced by the Ribbon as found in Office 2010.

Windows 8 – Method 3: More Charms – Settings

Access the Charms bar once more. Drag the mouse pointer to and click on Settings. The Settings pane will pop out and you can then choose Control Panel.

Note: To this settings option is only available from the desktop Charms setting.

Method 4: The Easiest Way – Right-click the Start “Button”

Last and perhaps the easiest way, right-click on what was formerly known as the Start button in the bottom left corner (now a hot corner), which allows you to switch between the Desktop and Start Screen. Right clicking brings up a context menu with wide array of options. The Control Panel is the fifth from the bottom.

And there you have it, four sure ways to access the Control Panel in Windows 8 Preview Release. Of course, some of these could change before it is released to manufacturers. We’ll be sure to keep you apprised of any of these changes if or when they happen.

Do you have an another way of opening the Windows 8 Control Panel? What is your preferred method? Let us know in the comments.

Profile Photo for Matt Klein Matt Klein
Matt Klein has nearly two decades of technical writing experience. He's covered Windows, Android, macOS, Microsoft Office, and everything in between. He's even written a book, The How-To Geek Guide to Windows 8.
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