Where is the Control Panel in Windows 11?

Find out how to locate & open the Control Panel in Windows 11

by Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Passionate about technology, Windows, and everything that has a power button, he spent most of his time developing new skills and learning more about the tech world. Coming... read more
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how to find control panel in windows 11

Wondering where the Control Panel has gone in the shiny new world of Windows 11? While the Settings app takes center stage in the latest Windows edition, the classic Control Panel hasn’t been retired. For example, some of our seasoned software testers from the Windows Report lab prefer using it over the Setting app.

That’s why our experts have tinkered with the Control Panel on Windows 11, testing it in tens of different scenarios, trying to guide you through the various methods to locate and open the Control Panel, and discuss why you might want to use it instead of, or along with, the Settings app.

The Unchanged Legend: Control Panel in Windows 11

Contrary to popular belief, the Control Panel still exists in Windows 11. Microsoft has focused on streamlining the user experience via the Settings app, but for those who still want to utilize the Control Panel, it’s accessible.

Unlike some of its other older staple programs & apps, Microsoft decided to keep the Control Panel in Windows 11, and who knows, maybe it will still be here in Windows 12 as well. Note that it was part of Microsoft Windows since Windows 1.0, gathering new applets with each newer version.

How we test, review and rate?

We have worked for the past 6 months on building a new review system on how we produce content. Using it, we have subsequently redone most of our articles to provide actual hands-on expertise on the guides we made.

For more details you can read how we test, review, and rate at WindowsReport.

Multiple Paths to Control Panel in Windows 11

You’re not limited to just one way to open the Control Panel in Windows 11. Here are some methods:

  • Search Bar: Type Control Panel in the search bar next to the Start menu and hit Enter.
  • Run Dialog: Press Win+R to open the Run dialog, type Control Panel, and hit Enter.
  • Windows Terminal: Open Windows Terminal and type start control, then hit Enter.
  • File Explorer: Navigate to C:\Windows\System32\, find the control.exe (you can search for control in the top right) file, and double-click it.

When the Control Panel is Playing Hide and Seek

Some users have reported difficulties in finding the Control Panel. If you’re experiencing this, it’s likely due to user restrictions or specific software configurations that hide or disable access to the Control Panel. Consult with your IT department or administrator if you encounter this issue.

Also, check the software configuration; some third-party software might affect your system settings. If you’ve installed a recent app that’s making some of your usual settings or apps act up, that might be the reason behind not finding the Control Panel. If so, uninstall the app, and things should return to normal.

Why is the Control Panel Not Opening: Possible Roadblocks

If you’re unable to open the Control Panel, consider these potential issues:

  • Administrative Restrictions: Your account may lack the necessary permissions.
  • Corrupt System Files: A system scan to repair corrupt files may be needed.
  • Malware Infection: Perform a comprehensive malware scan if other options don’t resolve the issue.

There might be other specific issues that prevent you from opening the Control Panel; that’s why we’ve made this easy-to-follow guide to help you get to it in just a couple of steps.

Control Panel vs. Settings App: A Tug of War

Why use the Control Panel over the Settings app, or vice versa? Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Control Panel: Offers a more detailed array of options, essential for IT professionals and power users.
  • Settings App: Designed with a user-friendly interface, offering a more straightforward, intuitive user experience.

There are a lot of Windows users on both sides, but there’s no wrong choice here. If you want to learn more about the differences, similarities, and use scenarios, check out our in-depth comparison of Control Panel vs. Settings app.

In Summary

Yes, the Control Panel is alive and well in Windows 11, with multiple avenues to access it. Whether you’re a fan of the classic utility or prefer the modern Settings app (as some of our writers do), Windows 11 gives you the flexibility to choose.

Armed with this guide, you can now easily navigate to the Control Panel and make informed decisions about its usage. Don’t forget to tell us why you prefer using the Settings app or Control Panel in the comments section below.

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