In an attempt to make Windows 10 more user friendly, Microsoft decided to move many common configuration options to the Settings menu, at the same time burying the older Windows Control Panel deep behind menus and search boxes. Although this arrangement works for most situations, there are times when a user just must have access to the Control Panel.
There are several tweaks and tricks one can use to make the Windows 10 Control Panel easily accessible. Perhaps one of the more useful is to add Control Panel access to the list of available drives and services located on Windows 10 File Explorer. This requires a delicate tweak of the Windows File Registry and some specific knowledge of class identifiers (CLSID).
This tutorial will explain how to add access to the Control Panel to Windows 10 File Explorer using a Windows File Registry hack.
SEE: TechRepublic Premium editorial calendar: IT policies, checklists, toolkits, and research for download (TechRepublic Premium)
How to add Control Panel to Windows 10 File Explorer
Disclaimer: Editing the Windows Registry file is a serious undertaking. A corrupted Windows Registry file could render your computer inoperable, requiring a reinstallation of the Windows 10 operating system and potential loss of data. Back up the Windows 10 Registry file and create a valid restore point before you proceed.
To add access to the Control Panel to File Explorer, we have to edit the Windows 10 Registry File. Type “regedit” into the search box on the Windows 10 desktop and select the appropriate result. Use the left-hand navigation bar (Figure A) in Regedit to find this specific key:
We need to create a new key in the NameSpace folder. Right-click the NameSpace folder and select New and then Key from the context menu, as shown in Figure B.
Now you must enter one of these two CLSID codes to the key you just created.
This CLSID code will add access to the category view of the Windows 10 Control Panel, as shown in Figure C:
This CLSID code will add access to the large icons view of the Windows 10 Control Panel, as shown in Figure D:
The choice of which view of Control Pane you want to add is arbitrary and completely up to you.
Enter in your CLSID code of choice and then exit it out of Regedit.
Open Windows 10 File Explorer to the This PC folder and you will now have direct access to the Control Panel located under the Devices and drives section, as shown in Figure E.
Because Control Panel access is part of File Explorer, you can right click the Control Panel button and pin the link to Control Panel to your Quick Access list, as shown in Figure F.
You may also pin Control Panel to the Start Menu, if you wish.
Adding access to the Windows 10 Control Panel to File Explorer will save you some time and perhaps frustration when trying to troubleshoot a configuration setting or device driver problem.