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Windows Control Panel Shortcuts

May 25, 2021 By JeffTechs

Maybe it’s just me, but I really like control panel shortcuts. Not having to click through 5+ screens to get the correct administrative area gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. I’ve tried to find more through Google searches, but the list (even the ones proffered by Microsoft) never seem accurate. So, how do you find the up-to-date list. Enter scene: PowerShell.

You may have already seen ncpa.cpl and appwiz.cpl for NIC settings and installed programs, but there are more. The commonality is–you probably guess it–.cpl files. Side note: If you’re not an admin and you’re working in a domain environment, these can actually be blocked by a Software Restriction policy. I, however, would never do that to my users.

We need to go into our System32 directory. So, you need to be an admin on the computer you’re using. Pull up PowerShell and let’s start navigating. If you open a PowerShell prompt as administrator, you should start in System32, if for some reason you do not, run:

cd C:\Windows\System32

Ok, all we have left to do is run a listing of the directory and filter for what we want. Get-ChildItem is PowerShells command for doing this, but it also supports the ls alias for Unix/Linux. So, I’m going to run the command the latter way. Run this command in your PowerShell prompt:

ls -Recursive *.cpl

This will run a recursive search for any file ending in .cpl and print that filtered list. Your results should look something like this:

It’s even alphabetical. Wonderful.

There are five .cpl shortcuts that I use on a regular basis: appwiz.cpl, Firewall.cpl, hdwwiz.cpl. ncpa.cpl and sysdm.cpl. Not all of the names are intuitive, so I really encourage you to explore these and see what you’d use. Definitely try the joy.cpl shortcut.

I’ll be writing another article about exe’s in the same area for command line utilities. Check it out if you dig this style. Other than that, thanks for reading and let me know if there’s any topics you’d like explored on here.