Chapter 8. The Control Panel

Like the control panel in the cockpit of an airplane, the Control Panel is an extremely important feature of Windows 7. It’s teeming with miniature applications (or applets) that govern every conceivable setting for every conceivable component of your computer. Some are so important that you may use them (or their corresponding notification-area icons) every day. Others are so obscure that you’ll wonder what on earth inspired Microsoft to create them. This chapter covers them all.


Here and there, within the Control Panel, you’ll spot a little Windows security-shield icon. It tells you that you’re about to make an important, major change to the operating system, something that will affect everyone who uses this PC—fiddling with its network settings, for example, or changing its clock. To prove your worthiness (and to prove that you’re not an evil virus attempting to make a nasty change), you’ll be asked to authenticate yourself; see the box on The Secret, Fully Automatic Logon Trick for details.

Many Roads to Control Panel

All Versions

There are two ways to change a setting on your PC. There’s the traditional way, which begins with opening the Control Panel and drilling down from there. And there’s the Windows 7 way, which involves jumping directly to the setting you want, using the Start menu’s Search box. Herewith: the steps for both methods.

The Control Panel Itself

To have a look at your Control Panel applet collection, choose Start→Control Panel to ...

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