Microsoft

Create a custom Control Panel in Windows XP

If you admire the simplicity of Windows XP's Category View but prefer the Classic View, you may want to create your own custom Control Panel that combines the best of both worlds. Greg Shultz tells you how.

To simplify access to the tools in Windows XP's Control Panel, Microsoft created the Category View, in which the Control Panel's tools are organized into categories. If you're an old-school Windows user, you can still switch back to the Classic View, in which all of the Control Panel's tools are available. If you admire the simplicity of the Category View but prefer the Classic View, you may want to create your own custom Control Panel that combines the best of both views. Here's how:

  1. Right-click the Start button and select the Explore command.
  2. Go to File | New | Folder.
  3. Name the new folder My Control Panel.
  4. Right-click your new My Control Panel folder, select the Properties command, choose the Customize tab, click the Change Icon button, and select an icon that will differentiate this folder from all the rest on the Start menu.
  5. Open your new My Control Panel folder, and then open the original Control Panel and select Classic View.
  6. Drag and drop your favorite tools from the original Control Panel to your new My Control Panel folder.
  7. Close both your new My Control Panel folder and the original Control Panel.

Now when you need to use your favorite tool, just click Start | All Programs and at the top of the All Programs menu select the My Control Panel folder. You'll see your favorite tools in an easy to access drop-down menu.

Note: This tip applies to both Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional.

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About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

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