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Access Control Panel Contents from Start Menu

Posted By On July 13, 2010 @ 10:05 AM In Desktop Enhancement | Comments Disabled

Ben W. Asks:
This is probably a ridiculous question, but I am always going into my Control Panel and would like to be able to access the contents from my Start Menu. Is that even possible? I am on WinXP.

A:
You know, Ben, there are ridiculous questions, but this is not one of them. It’s a great idea – and yes, you can do it.

First – for those of us who haven’t used it yet – some info on what it is and how to find it:

The Windows Control Panel is where you go to change different system settings and controls. For instance, if you want to install different fonts, you’d go to the Control Panel. If you want to uninstall a program, you’d go to the Control Panel. To get to the Control Panel, point to Start, and your Start Menu will pop up.

When you look at the Startup Menu, you will see the Control Panel halfway down the right-side column. There are two separators in the right column. The Control Panel is just below the first separator.

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Now, Ben, back to your question:

In order to access the things you can do from within the Control Panel from the Start Menu (called applets) you must make a sub-menu. This is how:

Right-click a blank area in your task bar. A menu will pop up. Click on Properties.

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When you click on Properties, a dialog box will pop up that are your Taskbar and Start menu Properties (this is displayed across the top). You will see two tabs. Click on the Start Menu tab. (We will do the Classic Start menu option after we finish this one.) Then click on Customize…

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After you click on Customize…, a dialog box like this will pop up. Across the top you see Customize Start Menu. Underneath that you see two tabs. Click Advanced.

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In the example above, under Advanced, you can see Start menu settings (which you do not need for this). Look down further and above the white area (where you can scroll) you can see Start menu items. I have highlighted it in green.

In the white area (underneath Start menu items), you can scroll for even more customizing options. Here we are only concerned with the Control Panel, which is right at the top of the white area. Click on the button next to Display as a menu (because that’s what you want it to do in your Start menu). Click OK.

(Note: Guess what? Not only can you make a submenu for the Control Panel, but you can also do it for My Computer, My Documents, My Music, and various others – even System Administrative Tools. Explore it when you get the chance.)

Just one more box! After you click on okay, the original Taskbar and Start menu Properties box will pop up. Click on Apply, and then click on OK.

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Classic Start menu:

If you view Windows in the “Classic” (the original Windows layout) mode, it’s really easy to make the submenu.

Do everything the same way as above until you get to Taskbar and Start menu Properties dialog box. This time, click Classic Start Menu instead of Start menu.

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The white area that is in the dialog box that popped up this time has a list of Advanced Start menu options (Advanced Start menu options is highlighted in purple). Check the box next to Expand the Control Panel and click OK.

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And once again, after you click on OK, the original Taskbar and Start menu Properties box will pop up. Click on Apply, and then click on OK.

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Now (in both viewing modes) when you need to get to your Control Panel applets, you can get there from your Start menu. Here’s what it looks like:

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And there you have it!

Thanks for the not-ridiculous-at-all question, Ben!

~Lori Cline

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