Windows optimize

Video: Remove icons from the Windows Control Panel

Bill Detwiler explains how to lock down the Windows Control Panel by removing individual icons or picking the ones that are displayed.

For IT pros and power users the Windows Control Panel is often a starting point for troubleshooting or tweaking their systems. But for the novice user, it can be a Pandora's box. On this week's episode of TR Dojo, I show you how to lock down the Control Panel by removing individual icons or picking the ones that are displayed.

Note: The system edits illustrated in this TR Dojo video were done with the Local Group Policy Editor. If your machine is a domain member, making these edits with the Local Group Policy Editor may not produce the same result. Domain Group Policy trumps local Group Policy. If you want to make the edits on a machine joined to a domain, you'll need to use the Registry Editor. You'll find detailed steps in McFedries' article linked to below.

For those who prefer text to video, you can click the Transcript link that appears below the video player window or check out Paul McFedreies' article, "10 ways to tweak Windows 7 using the Local Group Policy Editor."

Here are links to resources that I mention in the video:

You can also sign up to receive the latest TR Dojo lessons through one or more of the following methods:

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

9 comments
shikshan
shikshan

Instructive article as usual. What should not be missing from such enlightenments for the PC owners is, that there has to be: 1 Indication of benefit aspect, ie non-jugglery value or "Why" of the tweak. 2 Saving clause, ie undoing the tweak or reinstating the (Control Panel) status.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

There are really very few icons to remove if the user is a standard user. A good chunk of them require elevated privledges to change something.

MikeBlane
MikeBlane

Just curious. Would he think that this is funny, or would he be TOTALLY embarrassed? This reminds me of the Rush Hour outtakes at the end when Chris Tucker's phone rings during filming and is given to Jackie Chan and Jackie explains to the caller "We are filming"...

no1kilo
no1kilo

It should be as simple as dragging and dropping the icon to another (secure) folder.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

For IT pros and power users the Windows Control Panel is often a starting point for troubleshooting or tweaking their systems. But for the novice user, it can be a Pandora's box. On this week's episode of TR Dojo, I show you how to lock down the Control Panel by removing individual icons or picking the ones that are displayed. But is removing Windows Control Panel icons really worth all the effort? Does it ultimately depend on a machine's environment--lab, kiosk, office? What do you think? Is removing icons from the Windows Control Panel a good security measure or overkill? Take the poll in the post above and let me know. Original post and poll: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/itdojo/?p=2140

seanferd
seanferd

as indicated. If you don't know why you'd want to do this, don't do it. edit: And you won't have Group Policy on a Windows system Home edition or lower, anyway. I think it should be rather obvious as to how to undo the action.

seanferd
seanferd

Control panel extensions are already in a secure folder - /System32. The control panel isn't a real folder/directory. The icons aren't regular shortcuts. It just doesn't work that way.

dogknees
dogknees

Just removing the icons doesn't stop people accessing them from Explorer from the Run.. dialog. You need to be a bit more "forceful" to really stop them. Removing the relevant .cpl files from system32 is a start.